This World Environment Day, following the announcement of a successful bid to the Government’s Ultra Low Emission Bus Fund to support the purchase of electric buses, the region’s largest bus operator, Go North East, has confirmed an order for nine E10 latest generation full electric buses with the world’s largest electric bus manufacturer, Yutong, through its UK agent, Castleford-based Pelican Bus and Coach.
Building upon Go North East’s sizeable annual investment in low emission diesel buses, the region’s first zero emission full electric buses will be an important part of efforts to tackle air pollution, further enhance the quality of bus travel and will also provide valuable operating experience for future electric vehicles.
Nine Yutong E10 single deck buses have been ordered for the operator’s services between Newcastle and Gateshead following extensive trials of various electric bus types.
Go North East's Managing Director, Martijn Gilbert, said: “Buses are a really important part of keeping our towns and cities moving, reducing congestion and improving air quality. We were therefore delighted to have secured the support from Government to help boost our investment in the introduction of full electric, zero emission buses that will make travelling by bus in the North East even greener, and we've now completed our evaluations and can announce an official order for the buses.
“These buses will build on our existing investment which has already seen over 170 low emission buses join our fleet in recent years, with more on the way for the year ahead, as well as an ongoing programme supported by local partners to upgrade the engine emission standards of much of our existing fleet, all further improving the carbon footprint of the 62 million journeys made by our passengers every year. There has never been a better time to switch to using our buses from a cost, environmental and health and wellbeing point of view.”
Go North East, in partnership with Nexus, was awarded funding which helps support an element of the additional capital cost of electric buses and depot charging infrastructure, in the latest round of the Government's Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme announced earlier this year. The buses will form a key part of ongoing efforts to improve air quality and will be the first latest generation full electric buses capable of all-day service to operate in North East England.
Commenting on the order with Yutong, Go North East’s Engineering Director, Colin Barnes, said: “We’ve undertaken extensive trials and analysis of the electric bus types that are currently available in the UK market. The distance range of the vehicles, battery life, seating capacity, build quality and warranty were particularly important considerations for us when evaluating the best choice and Yutong came top in all these areas. We’ve tried both the E10 and E12 models in our operation and have been very impressed with them.”
The E10’s will be the first production models in the UK and will be supported by overnight electric charging infrastructure from Yutong that will be installed at Go North East's Gateshead Riverside depot, where the buses will be based. They are due to enter service in July 2020 and the operator expects to be ordering further electric buses in the coming years.
Ian Downie, Head of Yutong Bus, said: “All the staff at Pelican and Yutong are absolutely delighted and honoured to receive the very first order for the Yutong electric bus from Go North East. There are over 84,000 Yutong electric buses in service around the world, so these vehicles will be the start of many in the UK and Eire.
“We are the only manufacturer with an ULEB certificate, and the E10 is fully zero emission with electric air conditioning for passenger comfort. The market analysis that Go North East undertook was intense, and we are delighted that our product and support resulted in the award. We look forward to working with Go North East for many years to come.”