The Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, Val Shawcross, today inaugurated Europe’s largest fleet of all electric buses – 51 12m single deckers built in Britain by a partnership between BYD and Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL).

Also on hand in London for today’s ceremony was Xu Qin, the Mayor of Shenzhen, BYD’s ‘home city’. Shenzhen, a Southern China city of 11 million people, operates what is almost certainly the world’s largest fleet of electric buses. 

The 51 new buses in London will be operated by Go-Ahead London from its Waterloo garage, servicing two Transport for London routes – 507 and 521. The order for the BYD ADL Enviro200EV buses follows a three-year trial of two BYD vehicles from the same garage and on the same routes. The trial proved the high reliability and outstanding range of the buses, powered by BYD technology, which demonstrated that they could consistently run a 16-hour shift without a recharge being necessary.

The new buses also benefit from BYD partner ADL’s stylish, lightweight aluminium body, manufactured at ADL’s plant in Falkirk, Scotland. ADL has extensive experience in designing and delivering proven, state-of-the-art, contemporary buses which improve passengers’ on board experience with amenities ranging from USB charging points and ambient lighting to comfortable seating.

Significant investment at Waterloo garage has provided 43 BYD-supplied recharging posts capable of powering 46 buses, with a further 5 charging posts being located at nearby Mandela Way depot where 5 buses are being based. BYD has worked closely with the SSE energy group and UK Power Networks on the provision of power to the charging equipment.

According to TfL figures, roughly 7 million passengers use buses on routes 507 and 521 every year. The buses covered in total over 1.1 million km (685,000 miles) in the year to April 2016. This means that, compared with the diesel buses they replace, the BYD ADL Enviro200EV buses will save the emissions of 700 tonnes of CO2 per year right from the start, with savings increasing as the UK grid moves to lower carbon energy sources in years to come. And Londoners will benefit from improved air quality too – no diesel engines means no diesel emissions of harmful particulates and NOx.

The BYD ADL Enviro200EV buses supplied to Go-Ahead can carry 90 passengers, 21 of them seated. They feature a regenerative braking system which feeds power from kinetic energy recovered during braking and deceleration back into the battery.

BYD and ADL are at the forefront of the revolution which will bring electric buses to the streets of UK cities. With 10,000 full size electric buses already produced, BYD is a true world leader thanks to its advanced, safe and long range Iron-Phosphate battery technology.  ADL is the UK’s largest bus manufacturer and market leader in the midi bus sector. 

In Britain, aside from the 51 buses launched in London today, BYD is trialling the world’s first pure electric double deckers – 5 are in service with London operator Metroline on behalf of TfL and future versions will be built in partnership with ADL. 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s vital that we act now to clean-up our capital’s toxic air and do everything we can to help prevent the thousands of deaths it causes each year.

“I’ve set out a comprehensive plan to improve our air, and the transformation of London’s bus fleet will play a key role in making our transport cleaner and healthier.

“These first two electric bus routes right through the heart of London are another step towards the end of conventional diesel buses on our roads.  This will deliver extensive air quality benefits and position us as a true world leader in adopting ultra low emission vehicle technology.”

TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said: “These are the first two electric routes that travel through the heart of the capital. They will mean better air quality and better journeys for customers – with less noise and vibration than traditional buses. Today is a real game-changer in the drive to green the capital’s transport network.”

Speaking in London today Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of BYD Europe, said: “Today is the culmination of several years of hard work and we are delighted to be here with our partners TfL, Go-Ahead and ADL inaugurating Europe’s largest electric bus fleet. We are proud that the previous largest fleet – of 35 ebuses – was also supplied by BYD to Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

“In the UK we have a dedicated support team, a new office, a new Country Manager and will shortly be acquiring a workshop and parts store within London. We are in discussion with several potential customers for our electric buses and look forward to helping more operators and their city governments to assist in improving air quality”, he said.

Colin Robertson, CEO of ADL, said: “These world-class vehicles are a product of partnership – in collaborating with BYD, our shared vision has been to provide an electric vehicle solution which responds to all of our customers’ needs. 

“At the core of our company is our commitment to designing, developing and manufacturing the vehicles which incorporate the latest technologies to deliver market-leading reliability, low total cost of ownership and environmental benefits.  “The premium interior specification options will contribute to an outstanding passenger experience, underlining our commitment to increasing ridership and bus usage in congested cities.  Seeing this fleet of vehicles enter into service is a milestone event for all of us and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.”