Dublin Bus takes delivery of first hybrid double-decker vehicles

New buses, which use diesel when not in electric mode, do not need to be re-charged using plug-in connections

Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne and NTA chief executive Anne Graham take delivery of the first hybrid double-decker buses at the  O’Connell Street headquarters of Dublin Bus on Tuesday. Photograph: Dublin Bus

Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne and NTA chief executive Anne Graham take delivery of the first hybrid double-decker buses at the O’Connell Street headquarters of Dublin Bus on Tuesday. Photograph: Dublin Bus

 

Dublin Bus has taken delivery of its first hybrid double-decker buses, part of a programme to scale-up use of such vehicles, which reduce carbon emissions and contribute to better urban air quality.

The hybrid electric vehicles, which use diesel when not in electric mode, were purchased by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and do not need to be re-charged using plug-in connections.

The new Wrightbus StreetDeck HEV 96 double-decker buses will be based at the Dublin Bus depot on Conyngham Road and will operate on Route 25.

Additional hybrid-type vehicles have been ordered from ADL and Volvo.

A draft version of the Government’s plan for responding to climate disruption indicated last week that it is envisaged 1,200 electric buses would be in operation in Ireland by 2030.

Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne and NTA chief executive Anne Graham took delivery of the first three buses at the O’Connell Street headquarters of Dublin Bus on Tuesday. They will enter service over coming weeks.

The buses include standard features such as a low-floor offering easy access for all passengers, a dedicated wheelchair space, a dedicated buggy space with fold-up seats, priority seating and USB charging sockets, the NTA said.

Under the skin, it noted, a raft of new electrically-powered components work together to capture the energy that is lost as heat during braking to reduce the amount of work that the low-emission Euro VI diesel engine has to do to propel the bus and power the on-board facilities.

The vehicles are significantly quieter that current fossil-fuelled buses, but do not raise any road safety concerns as a consequence, according to Dublin Bus.

“Together with automatic engine stop-start technology that switches-off the engine while the bus is stationary, the powertrain on board the new buses can deliver fuel savings of at least 30 per cent, producing less CO2 and helping to improve air quality,” the NTA said.

“In the next week or so, a procurement process will get under way for some 600 double-deck hybrid buses to be delivered over a five-year period. The vast majority of these will be deployed in Dublin, although some will operate in regional cities,” the spokesman added.

“We would then hope to sign a contract with the winning bidder before the end 2019, with the prospect of the first batch of the new buses being delivered next year.”

The NTA recently announced fully electric double-decker buses could be seen on Cork streets within five years. It expects electric buses rather than biogas-fuelled vehicles are more likely to be deployed.

There are very few double-decker buses available in electric vehicle mode as they are larger buses and batteries are not good enough yet for the types of routes used in Ireland. But they are expected to be available in three or four years’ time.

The EU is backing the biogas option. This is included in a new directive coming from Europe on buses they are favouring, which have zero emissions.