Ruddington’s New ‘Green’ Buses on Schedule

Back in March we reported the announcement by Ruddington’s main bus operator that its entire fleet of 78 single decker buses will be fully electrified from 2023.

This includes replacing the three diesel-powered Navy 3 branded ‘Optare Solo’ buses which Nottingham City Transport (NCT) currently uses for its Nottingham to Clifton route via Ruddington. The operator has just announced that Pelican Bus & Coach will deliver the first 12 of the fully electric buses to join the NCT fleet, which are expected to enter service in late 2023.

Unfortunately, these zero-emission vehicles are not built in Britain, but instead will be manufactured by Yutong – a Chinese company based in Zhengzhou.  However, Pelican oversees the importation of the buses from China and ‘finishes’ them in the UK before delivery to UK operators. These 12.2m buses will be “fully accessible, feature full electric air-conditioning, provide a quiet travelling experience with no engine vibration or noise and have free Wi-Fi and USB charging points on board”.

A twin CCS rapid charger {Photo courtesy of Zenobē}

Zenobē – the EV fleet and battery storage specialist which NCT has chosen to install the required infrastructure at its Trent Bridge Bus Garage – does have British headquarters. The London-based company has so far worked with 90% of the major bus companies in the UK to provide their charging facilities.

Explaining these decisions, Liam O’Brien, NCT’s Head of Engineering says: “Following a rigorous public procurement process and operational trials of several electric buses, Yutong Bus & Coach and Zenobē were a clear winner to deliver our first electric buses. The buses are superior in terms of space and comfort for passengers and have air conditioning as standard. With the software and charging service provided by Zenobē, the buses can do a full days’ operation on a single, overnight, charge, which is essential for ensuring we can keep them all on the road throughout the day, providing a better, cleaner service for our customers”.

Ian Downie, Head of Yutong UK at Pelican Bus and Coach says: “We are absolutely delighted and honoured to have been awarded this contract to work in partnership with NCT. The vehicles will be fully completed at our family owned dealership in Castleford, and we look forward to supporting Nottingham on their zero emission journey”.

Cllr Audra Wynter

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Parks, Councillor Audra Wynter, comments: “These new state of the art electric buses are fantastic news for Nottingham. Getting more people using greener public transport is a key part in tackling the twin emergencies of toxic air pollution and climate breakdown. These electric buses will help Nottingham to reach our carbon neutral 2028 goals while getting people around the city quickly and easily as part of our award-winning bus network.”

Steven Meersman, Co-Founder and Director at Zenobē says: “We’re thrilled to be delivering our first infrastructure in Nottingham and to be working in collaboration with Nottingham City Transport. We know that bringing 78 buses to the local area will have a huge impact on emissions and bring the City of Nottingham closer to its ambition of being carbon neutral by 2028. We are proud to be a part of this project. Working across the public and private sector is essential to scaling emissions faster, and we’re looking forward to delivering a greener service to the city”.

NCT’s eco-friendly ‘bus journey’ began in Ruddington five years’ ago with its new ‘BioGas’ double-deckers introduced on the Green 10 route. Since then, advances in battery technology, efficiency and range mean that even cleaner, all-electric buses are now a workable proposition for the future.

When NCT’s electric bus project is fully delivered, the company estimates that 3,800 tonnes of CO2e will be saved each and every year. Over the lifetime of the buses, they should also make a significant contribution to wider efforts to improve air quality, with an estimated 31 tonnes of harmful NOx and 777kg of PM2.5 removed from the atmosphere.

This £34m project is being supported with £15.2m from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) Fund.

Ruddington previously had lower range electric buses run by CT4N – but these were withdrawn in 2019

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