Go-Ahead launches first fully electric bus fleet in the North East - UPDATED27 November 2020

Go-Ahead is launching the first fully electric bus fleet in the North East of England.

The nine new high-tech electric buses, which the operator has branded Voltra, will cover 300,000 miles across Newcastle and Gateshead each year. The buses are said to have a daily range of about 200km.

Go North East will charge the Yutong buses overnight via a DC fast charge connection at its state-of-the-art Gateshead Riverside depot.

The single-deck Yutong-brand buses are the result of a £2 million investment with top-up funding from the Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Fund. The UK Yutong importer is Pelican Engineering, which recently supplied 15 full-electric buses to Newport Transport.

The Yutong E10s are 10.9m long and fitted with 422kWh CATL lithium-ion phosphate batteries that are water-cooled. The specification includes exterior LED lights and all-electric climate control.

Go-Ahead’s move reflects the company’s commitment to have a ‘net zero’ bus fleet by 2035, it says.

The company has introduced more than 50 geo-fenced, extended range, double deckers into Brighton, which switch to zero-emission only in the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone.

In addition, Go-Ahead is in talks regarding what has the potential to be Europe’s biggest ever order of hydrogen buses for operation in Crawley and Gatwick.

David Brown, Go-Ahead chief executive, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on the country, the economy and public transport but tackling climate change remains as important as ever.

“The bus will be vital to getting Britain back on its feet, to bringing down emissions and tackling air pollution, which many experts believe has contributed to the severity of the virus we face.”

“Our investment in electric buses in the North East of England and our wider work in decarbonising our fleet signals our commitment to working with the Government to deliver their pledge to decarbonise transport and clean up the air that we breathe.”

Go-Ahead already runs the largest electric bus fleet in the UK, and it will rise to 190 with this latest investment. Some 70 further electric buses will also enter service in London by April.

UPDATED 27 November 3:30pm: Added extra details about the bus specfication from Pelican.

Transport Engineer

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