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Nottingham launches BYD electric bus fleet

Nottingham City Council (NCC) in the UK today inaugurated its fleet of 13 BYD advanced pure electric 12m ebuses, along with associated charging equipment.

The bus purchase has been facilitated by a £1.4m grant from the DfT Green Bus Fund. The remaining funds of £2.1m have been raised via the NCC Workplace Parking Levy. This builds on the existing fleet of 45 electric buses and expanding tram project within the city of Nottingham. NCC is working in partnership across Greater Nottingham to encourage all modes of transport - buses, taxis, trams, bikes and cars - to move onto a sustainable electric platform, with more power generated locally via waste incineration and PV panels.

In the multi million pound purchase contract, BYD is providing a five-year warranty on its proven power train components based on the company’s renowned Iron-Phosphate battery technology. BYD is the biggest producer of pure electric buses in the world and its 12m ebus has been trialled in more than 50 major European cities. Operators have experienced considerable operating cost benefits thanks to the lower price of electricity versus diesel.

The significance of the NCC order for BYD is that it is its first in the UK outside London (it has supplied Europe’s largest electric bus fleet to Go-Ahead Group on behalf of Transport for London).

The buses for Nottingham City Council have a comprehensive service support package which includes training for drivers and maintenance engineers.

Councillor Nick McDonald Portfolio Holder for Business, Growth and Transport at Nottingham City Council, said “These new buses are a welcome addition to our Link bus services, which ensure that local residents are provided with public transport to access vital medical and work links. One of the key objectives to this project was to drive down running costs so that subsidised services like Linkbus can be retained at times of severe budget restraints, which we have so far achieved”.

Councillor McDonald added: "Nottingham is proud to be named a designated a Go Ultra Low City plus it is one of five UK cities with a commitment to introduce a Clean Air Zone with Euro 6 emission entry standards for buses by 2020. It hasn’t been easy being an early adopter of such cutting-edge technology, but the partnership has now achieved a reliable electric bus network. It is hoped that other bus operators and contractors within Nottingham will make use of this charging network and local expertise".

Handing over the buses at a ceremony in Nottingham today Frank Thorpe, BYD’s UK Country Manager, said: “Winning this order from Nottingham, which has one of the largest fleets of electric buses in the UK, is of huge significance to BYD. NCC selected our ebuses after a comprehensive evaluation programme involving a variety of competitors demonstrating the strength of our proven technology. Its no surprise that other major UK provincial cities – such as Liverpool – are already following Nottingham’s lead”.