£40m boost for Arrive-and-Go technology as ADL gears for virtual electric

As the industry races towards the latest green bus fund deadline (24 March 2013), Alexander Dennis has confirmed orders for 125 Arrive-and-Go hybrid vehicles in the production pipeline – and a two-phase technology proposition.
All of these buses – worth around £40m – are Enviro400 double decks, and will go into service in Manchester, Yorkshire and London, with operators including Stagecoach, London United, London General and Metroline. "Our latest generation hybrids come with Arrive- and-Go technology, which is capable of shutting the diesel engine down when vehicle speed drops below 4mph, and re-starting it when it rises above 7mph," explains an ADL spokesperson. A series of test vehicles has been operating in Manchester, London and Birmingham for several months and has demonstrated a further 6% improvement on the 30—35% fuel and CO2 savings made with previous generation hybrids. "We have always said that the route to zero emissions is a progressive journey. Together with our technology partner BAE Systems we see this as another important step along the way," says the ADL man. "We remain convinced that series hybrid is the only technology currently offering an incremental path to zero emission buses that are economic and can perform to the gruelling 14-hour work cycles expected of them," he continues. "Our next step is extended zero emissions, which will deliver further fuel savings and engine-off time. Our aim is to achieve up to 70% silent operations, running on pure electric power – but with a regenerating bus that is truly fit for purpose." ADL says that means no recharging every few hours, no plug-in overnight, simply a 'Virtual Electric'. Interestingly, ADL and BAE say that the move from Arrive-and-Go technology to Virtual Electric mode will not require hardware changes. It will, they say, be achieved through a software upgrade – and ADL is offering a two-step purchase approach as part of its Green Bus Fund 4 proposal. "It's not quite 'buy one now, get one free'," says the ADL spokesperson, "but certainly an interesting proposition for those keen to stay at the forefront of technology and prepared to buy-in to the future now." In the meantime, ADL has confirmed that, in parallel with its investment in hybrid technology, it is also forging ahead with a major en-route recharging project. A £3.2m joint initiative involving ADL, BAE Systems, battery manufacturers Axeon and Strathclyde University is now underway, with a view to pilot bus operations being introduced 12—15 months from now.

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