New name set to join market as Wuhan Bus targets shorter-distance duties with 29- and 39-seaters
Newly-formed Bispwood Vehicle Supplies is to bring a 10.5m battery electric coach built in China by Wuhan Bus Manufacturing to the UK, and it promises that a prototype will arrive before the end of 2018.
The as-yet unnamed model comes with a claimed maximum range of 255km subject to the air-conditioning or heating demands. It will seat 39 passengers.
Bispwood says that it will be targeted at work such as airport transfers and shorter-distance private hires, and that it will be priced cost-effectively. An 8.1m, 29-seater will follow. Deliveries of both models will start from Q1 2019.
“This is a shuttle-type coach. It cannot accomplish a long-distance cycle, but that is not what we are targeting,” says a Bispwood representative.
The prototype will shortly enter build at Wuhan and it will be made available to operators in the UK. Bispwood will provide a mobile charging unit to accompany the demonstrator. It is in discussions with Npower for it to provide fixed chargers for customers’ vehicles.
The supplier is already talking to a handful of potential buyers, including one in the north-west with a corporate contract that would suit an EV coach.
More to come?
Bispwood says the 29- and 39-seaters will be customised to suit UK needs. That work will continue once the prototype arrives. It is keen to hear from operators who may wish to be involved in that process.
Additionally, the supplier is in negotiations to secure financing for both fleet and retail buyers. If the customer requires, the batteries can be leased, removing exposure to the cost of mid-life replacement.
“We now see a lot of operator confidence in Chinese-built coaches, but we are doing a lot of work on the aftermarket and support side,” says the representative. Subject to sufficient interest in the 10.5m battery electric coach being received, Bispwood does not rule out adding further models, including an EV minicoach.
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