Transdev Blazefield has ordered 20 Mercedes-Benz eCitaro battery-electric single-deckers and 19 Alexander Dennis Enviro400EV battery-electric double-deckers to complete the conversion of its Harrogate Bus Company operation to zero-emission.
The two deals are collectively worth £21 million and they are part-funded by the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme.
Transdev will deploy the eCitaro fleet on route 1 between Harrogate and Knaresborough, route 7 between Harrogate and Leeds, and route 24 between Harrogate and Pateley Bridge. The Enviro400EV fleet – which it has confirmed are of the type to be manufactured entirely by Alexander Dennis – is for the high-profile 36 service between Harrogate and Leeds.
All 39 buses are due to be in service “in spring 2024,” the operator says. They will run alongside an existing fleet of eight Volvo 7900E opportunity charged single-deckers in the spa town.
Transdev Blazefield Managing Director Henri Rohard – who has stepped up to that role after the departure of former CEO Alex Hornby – says that the project will give the Harrogate Bus Company “the most modern and passenger-oriented network.”
Adds Mr Rohard: “Higher power output delivered by today’s new generation batteries means that each bus can go further between charges – and to make sure that we provide a reliable service, our buses will also have top-up charges at Harrogate bus station, as they will travel further in a day than the maximum range achievable by fully electric buses.”
Such daytime charging will involve pantograph-based opportunity replenishment at Harrogate bus station for the Enviro400EV fleet to take account of range requirements on route 36.
For the eCitaros, Commercial Director Paul Turner has confirmed that the model’s endurance is sufficient with the exception of a small number of bus workings. They will thus not have on board opportunity charging equipment, but a plug-in charger will be installed at Harrogate bus station to permit short ‘boosts’ as needed.
Training and upskilling of the necessary Transdev maintenance staff will now be undertaken in collaboration with Alexander Dennis and Daimler Buses, the operator adds. It previously trialled an eCitaro demonstrator in Harrogate during 2021.
North Yorkshire Council has welcomed the order, which Executive Member for Highways and Transport Cllr Keane Duncan says “will transform bus travel in and around Harrogate.”
Cllr Duncan adds: “We look forward to continuing to work with Transdev on this project. It is great news for passengers and an important step towards achieving our climate aims.”