Robin Hood’s City of Nottingham Adding 20 Electric Buses to Existing Fleet of 8 (w/video)

MAY 16 2013 BY MARK KANE 2

British bus manufacturer Optare announced that Nottingham City Council placed an order for 20 electric buses for urban transport within the city.

Optare Solo SR EV

Optare Solo SR EV

The Nottingham City Transport fleet will likely purchase 10 copies of the Optare Solo SR EV and 10 of the Optare Versa EV, although the final ratio may change slightly.  Since Nottingham already has eight Optare Solo EV buses in regular operation, it’s likely the English city will soon have the largest fleet of electric buses in the whole of Europe.

The press release indicates that all electric buses will be equipped with quick-charging.  It can be assumed that, as in the case of the Versa EV in Coventry, the quick-charge setup will be CHAdeMO style. It’s interesting that each bus has two CHAdeMO inlets, which seems necessary given the bus’ battery capacity of over 100 kWh.

For the city of Nottingham, the bus order of over £4 million will be partially funded by the UK government’s Green Bus Fund.

According to earlier reports, one Versa EV bus costs in the neighborhood of £240,000, depending on how its equipped in terms of options.

It’s worth mentioning that Optare electric buses are British constructions but with a heart from the US.  The supplier of the electric-drive unit was Enova Systems and the lithium-ion battery comes from Valence Technology. It’s not clear who will replace Enova Systems as the electric-drive supplier since Enova is essentially defunct. Even Valence Technologies is struggling to stay afloat.

Optare Versa EV presentation in Coventry, UK:

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2 Comments on "Robin Hood’s City of Nottingham Adding 20 Electric Buses to Existing Fleet of 8 (w/video)"

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Positive about electrons

What does a comparable new diesel bus cost for sake of comparison? I’m interested in the break even point here just like we regularly discuss for personal EV’s. Less maintenance and substantially lower fuel costs apply. Purchases like this can be made political. The numbers are the best supporting argument if the are indeed reasonable (short payback timeframe).

In the U.S., based on some research I did several years ago now (that’s my disclaimer), a basic, conventional diesel bus started around $200,000. CNG drivetrain added $20,000 while diesel-electric added about $40,000 to the cost. I believe fuel cell buses still cost around $1-$2 million each. But these prices are for the basic bus, and you can add many options. Also one manufacturer offers a composite bus shell which reduces weight dramatically but at the time I looked, it cost substantially more. I’ve added a link with some info on that.