Scope to deliver first production batch by the end of the year is already in sight for Chinese builder
Yutong has confirmed that it expects to enter the UK zero-emission (ZE) double-deck bus market in 2019.
Plans are already well in hand for a London-specification model capable of carrying 87 passengers and it will be followed by a one-door version for provincial use.
The battery-electric double-decker will utilise Yutong’s extensive EV experience, with the addition of ZF hub motors to allow a low floor to behind the rear axle. The Chinese builder has placed 65,000 electric vehicles into operation.
The manufacturer promises low energy consumption, permitting a full day’s work to be undertaken without need for intermediate charging.
The first EV ‘decker will be 10.5m long with potential for longer variants later. Yutong already builds diesel-powered double-deckers for other markets (pictured).
“We are completing design work on the electric double-decker for the UK and a detailed specification will be released in due course,” says Europe and North America Sales Director Roger Zhou.
At the moment, plans call for a prototype right-hand drive bus to be completed in April 2019. UK supplier Pelican Bus and Coach then aims to have the vehicle at Coach and Bus UK later in the year.
Scope for big orders
Mr Zhou adds that fulfilment of large orders for the ZE ‘decker will not be a problem. Yutong’s daily capacity is 400 completed vehicles. “We see lots of potential for a ZE double-decker in the UK. We have developed the E10 and the E12 to meet both Transport for London and provincial requirements and that will be followed up with the double-decker,” he adds.
Ian Downie, Head of Yutong Bus UK, adds: “The successful demonstration of our single-deck vehicles, with positive customer reaction, means that the double-deck is the next logical addition to our product portfolio. We look forward to further engagement with operators and local authorities on their requirements.”