Alexander Dennis (ADL) and BYD have jointly announced that their partnership has delivered 11 BYD ADL Enviro200EV single-deck battery-electric buses for Ireland’s first all-electric town bus service in Athlone, County Westmeath.

The buses, launched on 20 January by Ireland’s Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, have been procured and funded by Ireland’s National Transport Authority (NTA) and are operated by Bus Éireann.

They mark the first delivery from a framework contract for up to 200 BYD ADL Enviro200EV buses that the partnership (represented by ADL as primary contractor) signed with NTA in July 2021. That contract will deliver on the electrification of Athlone’s bus service as part of the Department of Transport’s Pathfinder Programme, itself part of the National Sustainable Mobility Policy that is targeting a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“The new fleet in Athlone is a particularly welcome development for Bus Éireann as we continue on our journey to become one of the most sustainable national transport companies in Europe,” says Bus Éireann Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Kent. “The operational experience will be invaluable as we expand electric vehicles to other urban services.”

Adds National Transport Authority CEO, Anne Graham: “The launch of these electric buses today represents a very significant milestone on the journey to a zero-emissions fleet for our town and city bus services. Athlone will be the first service in Ireland to be delivered entirely by electric buses, and we should not underestimate the significance of that for this town and for public transport in general.

“The experience we gain here with our colleagues in Bus Éireann will doubtless stand us in good stead as NTA rolls out similar programmes in Dublin and in other cities and towns in the months and years ahead.”

The new buses are of special tailored specification for NTA and Bus Éireann. Each is 12m long with two doorways and a bespoke interior that accommodates up to 73 passengers on 27 fixed seats, six tip-up seats within a permanent wheelchair space and dedicated accommodation for a pram, pushchair or buggy.

Alexander Dennis Regional Sales Manager for Ireland, Lee Gibson, comments: “We have built on the joint experience with our plug-in hybrid double deckers to ensure Athlone’s new buses are perfectly tailored to the requirements of passengers and the Bus Éireann team that operates them, and we look forward to rolling out this winning combination in other Irish towns and cities.”

Adds Frank Thorpe, Managing Director, BYD UK: “BYD, in collaboration with Alexander Dennis, is proud to support this inspiring programme in Athlone which sets an excellent example for other towns and cities to commit to zero-emission mobility. Through innovative world-leading technology, BYD is dedicated to empowering battery-electric public bus services, providing safe and reliable sustainable mobility solutions to reduce air pollution. We hope BYD ADL electric buses will encourage more people to use eco-friendly public bus services in Athlone, and other parts of Ireland.”