British transport company First Bus has ordered 193 electric buses from Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus worth £81m. Electric buses are planned to be launched in five cities in England from March 2023.
In particular, 68 of the electric buses ordered are for Leicester, 44 for York, 34 for Portsmouth, 32 for Leeds and 15 for Norwich. Both companies announced that all five regional electric bus projects should be completed within the next two years.
The new electric buses, which will use the GB Kite Electroliner BEV and StreetDeck Electroliner BEV models, will be assembled in Northern Ireland at the Wrightbus plant in Ballymena. With the delivery of the new vehicles, First Bus will have more than 500 electric buses in operation. The company has set itself the goal of creating completely environmentally friendly transport by 2035.
The GB Kite Electroliner is a single-deck electric bus with a capacity of 90 people. The bus can be equipped with lithium-ion batteries with an energy capacity of 340 kWh, 454 kWh or 567 kWh and should travel about 483 kilometers with the maximum battery. Wrightbus lists a DC charging power of 150 kW and an optional pantograph charging capability of 450 kW.
The StreetDeck Electroliner is a double-decker electric bus that can accommodate 95 passengers, including 74 seats. The batteries are located in the underbody and at the rear, and the entire battery pack is available in 340 kWh or 454 kWh configurations. According to Wrightbus, a range of about 320 kilometers is possible with the last power reserve. As a special feature, the manufacturer also highlights the possibility of fast charging up to 300 kW with CCS and up to 420 kW with pantograph.
First Bus is investing 43 million pounds (about 50 million euros) in new vehicles. The company will receive a £38 million grant from the UK Department for Transport to complete the electric park project. According to the information, the company worked closely with five municipal partners to secure funding. The funding helps to bridge the gap between the cost of a Euro VI diesel bus and an associated electric vehicle, and to cover the related infrastructure costs.