Speaking as he launched 56 electric bus charging points at Summerhill bus depot in Dublin on Sunday, Mr Ryan said there had been a “two-month delay” due to problems in achieving planning permission for the charging infrastructure.
Asked whether similar delays could be expected with charging infrastructure for the expansion of electric trains to Drogheda and Maynooth, Mr Ryan said “we should learn from examples like this and make sure we don’t have similar delays”. The Drogheda electric train charger was going to be “key to allow us run our new electric trains”, he said. The trains are due from French manufacturer Alstom in 2024 and due to come into service in 2025.
Anne Graham, director of the NTA, said the order for new electric buses had been signed in June 2022 for delivery in 2023. She said “it does take a number of months to order and deliver them”. Acknowledging there had been a planning delay with the infrastructure, she said “obviously everybody will be a little bit frustrated with it. With all projects there can be hiccups along the way”.
She said charging infrastructure would be deployed across Dublin, increasing the number of electric buses on the streets, and chargers would be built in Limerick for use with electric buses “later on next year”.
The charging of battery-electric buses in Dublin Bus’s Summerhill Depot is to become fully operational this week. Each charging point can charge two buses at a time, delivering up to 75kWh, or up to 150kWh if only a single bus is charging. It is expected to take each bus between two to three hours to charge.
Phibsborough bus depot will have charging infrastructure by the end of December, with the capacity to recharge a further 80 electric buses. Together the two depots will support a minimum of 136 electric buses, which will help make the atmosphere in the city cleaner, quieter and more sustainable.
In recent weeks, new double-deck battery-electric buses have been operational on certain Dublin Bus routes, including the 122 and 123, and over 360 drivers have completed an extensive testing, piloting and training programme using the new buses in recent months. Even more of these electric buses will become operational now that the charging infrastructure has been completed.
The NTA initially ordered 120 double deck battery-electric buses in 2022, from manufacturer Wrightbus in Ballymena, Co Antrim, 100 of which will be operated by Dublin Bus, with 20 operated by Bus Éireann. Subsequent orders have been placed for a further 221 of these buses, of which 120 are destined for operation in Dublin. This brings the total number either in service or on order to 341 buses.
The new zero-emission fleet will replace the older, diesel-powered fleet on an incremental basis as the latter buses reach the end of their efficient operational life.