RATP Dev London takes 36 BYD ADL Enviro200EV

RATP Dev in London has placed 36 BYD ADL Enviro200EV models into service at its Shepherd’s Bush garage.

It is the sixth depot in the capital to operate BYD’s electric buses as the Chinese manufacturer continues to dominate demand in London for zero-emission road-based public transport.

As with all but one of the others, the buses – 36 10.8m Enviro200EVs – have been produced in partnership with Alexander Dennis.

They are used on services 70 and C1, the latter of which takes them into central London. Diesel buses have been replaced on a one-for-one basis as the Enviro200EV’s range is well in excess of the most demanding duty on either route.

Installation of charging infrastructure ‘highly challenging’

BYD and its energy supply partners SSE Enterprise and UK Power Networks found the task of installing the necessary charging infrastructure at Shepherd’s Bush highly challenging.

The depot is located amid residential and commercial property, with an elevated railway line adjacent.

All of the work for the charginging infrastructure for the RATP Dev London Enviro200EV buses – which included the installation of transformers and over 10 tonnes of cable – was successfully undertaken with no interruption to day-to-day business. The work also came in on time and on budget – an achievement under such testing conditions.

The extensive cabling naturally carries electricity, but it also conveys data. The buses and the 37 plug-in points – one more of the latter was specified to permit flexibility of parking – benefit from BYD’s Smart Charging Management System (SCMS).

That means that buses are charged with little supervision, bar affixing the two heavy-duty connectors. Battery replenishment is monitored by engineering staff via an office-bound computer display that uses colour-coded icons to illustrate the state of each charger, and the bus connected to it when applicable.

Additionally, the SCMS usually draws electricity only between 2300-0600hrs. That’s for two reasons; one, the supply locally is not sufficient to charge more than a handful of buses at other times. The other is that energy is at its cheapest during those hours.

RATP Dev finds electricity charges to be cost-effective

RATP Dev pays 15p per kW/h during the period that electricity cost are at their lowest. Consumption data, which is generated by the chargers, shows that around 200kW/h is, so far, the most used on any duty. That gives a daily energy charge of no more than around £30, much  less than for a diesel-powered bus. The maximum daily mileage is around 130.

Both BYD and RATP Dev expect energy consumption to increase when ambient temperatures drop, as the buses have electric heating. Even then, all duties can be covered on one charge.

That was proven early in the process of adopting electric buses. The operator passed scheduling data to BYD and the manufacturer was able to validate the Enviro200EV’s compatibility.

With the typical amount of residual energy in the batteries upon return to depot, charging time is in the region of three hours.

Each Enviro200EV with RATP Dev London carries 31 seated passengers and a theoretical maximum of 50 standees. They are plated at 18,000kg GVW, and not the higher weight used on the 12m Enviro200EVs with Go-Ahead London at Waterloo depot.

The only reason for that is because there is no need for additional tolerance; there is no room on board the buses to accommodate the additional passengers that would justify an increase in GVW.

Shepherd’s Bush to be RATP Dev’s first all-electric UK depot

Transport giant RATP says that it intends to turn Shepherd’s Bush into its first all-electric bus depot in the UK. RATP Dev is currently involved in tendering for other routes that will require electric buses, but nothing is yet confirmed. There is latent capacity in the infrastructure that has already been installed at Shepherd’s Bush to allow further charging points to be added when required.

Additionally, it is in the process of training all of its 21 engineers at Shepherd’s Bush on the electric buses, which will smooth any addition of further battery-powered vehicles.

BYD also reports that it expects the strong take-up in the capital of it and ADL’s jointly-produced electric buses to continue. The first double-decker Enviro400EVs will enter service in 2019, and its single-deck range now comes at three lengths: 12m, 10.8m and 10.2m. It does not rule out adding a fourth, smaller, option should the market dictate.

Additionally, the trial period of the five wholly BYD-built double-deckers with Metroline has been extended beyond its initial three years. They have proven successful, says the manufacturer, although the driveline technology used in the Enviro400EV will be considerably more advanced.

Over 215 BYD ADL electric buses are in service or on order in the UK. Those at work already have covered in excess of 1.5m miles.