Transport for London (TfL) Managing Director, Surface Transport Leon Daniels hopes to see a BYD (Build Your Dreams) electric double-decker in the capital this year. Chinese manufacturer BYD has already built a 12-metre, tri-axle electric ’decker, the K10 which was believed to have been targeted at Kowloon Motor Bus in Hong Kong. Talking about the New Routemaster built by Wrightbus, Leon says in The Londoner there’s a concept design for an all-electric version of it.
London General has been operating two BYD K9 single-deck electric buses on former Red Arrow routes 507 and 521 and they been reportedly been well received. According to Leon, it’s planned that those two services will go all electric in 2016.
In Transport Emissions Roadmap published by TfL last September, it says: “We have already funded a further 1,400 hybrid buses since 2012 so we will have a fleet of 1,700 by 2016. To support the ULEZ proposal we require additional funding to roll out a further 1,600 hybrid double-decker and 300 electric single-decker buses. There is also an opportunity to convert our Dial-a-Ride fleet (the on demand minibus service for those who are unable to use mainstream public transport) into ultralow emission vehicles.
Funding is not the only limiting factor. The number of new buses that can be purchased is limited by the capacity of manufacturers. In theory, if central Government provided sufficient funding, manufacturers could be paid to quickly increase capacity and production and provide new hybrid buses for a London-wide ULEZ by 2020. However, this would not be cost effective in the long term because it would commit us to current technology for most of the bus fleet for over a decade. The current approach is for a steady turnover of vehicles over time, making use of new technology as it becomes available.”