Monday 15 July 2024
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£34 million to be spent on 24 electric buses for Nottingham

A new fleet of 24 electric buses bought by Nottingham City Transport will cost around £400,000 each – but will help it towards ending the use of diesel buses entirely by 2028.

The single-decker buses have been ordered by Nottingham City Transport (NCT), with the first 12 expected to be in operation this month (January).

It is expected the remaining 12 buses will be rolled out by the end of March.

The Chinese Yutong buses, which have a range of up to 275 miles, will be introduced on routes Pink 30 to Ilkeston Road, Wollaton and Bramcote, Blue 39 to Thorneywood and Carlton Valley and Red 50 to Racecourse Park and Ride, Colwick Industrial Estate and Victoria Retail Park.

During a city council Companies Governance Executive Committee meeting on January 16 David Astill, the managing director, said one of the firm’s key objectives is to “minimise the impact on the environment.”

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“We already boast the largest fleet of biogas powered buses in the world, with 143 currently,” he said.

“In order to help Nottingham reach its [Carbon Neutral 2028] aspirations, we are looking to replace the diesel fleet by 2028, so four years from now.”

NCT, which was established as an arms-length Nottingham City Council company in 1986, says it further expects to have changed its entire fleet to electric by 2034.

The buses will be charged overnight using electric charging infrastructure installed at the Trent Bridge Garage.

The total cost of the electric bus project, which includes both the new buses and infrastructure, is £34 million.

Around £15.2m of the cost has come from the Department for Transport’s ‘Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas’ (ZEBRA) fund, while the remaining £18.8m is investment by NCT itself.

The cost will be spread over several years in the same way a homeowner pays the mortgage on a house.

Mr Astill says the Government funding is a “massive incentive”, but plans to convert the entire fleet to electric will only be achievable if funding continues.

This is largely due to the significant costs of infrastructure and the buses themselves, which cost around £400,000 each.

“You can buy a diesel equivalent for half the cost of an electric bus,” Mr Astill added.

“The price premium on electric is huge, but the positive side is the cost of electricity is much lower than the cost of diesel.”

The electric buses use LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery packs instead of NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) packs, due to concerns over the unethical mining of cobalt.

In two years, NCT plans to order electric double-decker buses to further build the fleet.

Another 24 single-decker buses have also been ordered and are due to be delivered in 2025, bringing the total to 48.

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