I was encouraged to see the deployment of a new fleet of nine electric buses into my home town, Guildford, in 2019. These electric buses were the product of ongoing collaborative venture between the Chinese supplier, BYD, and the local (UK) firm of coach-builders ADL. This was undoubtedly a safe bet for our local authority as the ADL and BYD partnership had already proved it’s metal across the country, claiming 70% of the electric bus market Britain at that time.
The design of the bus is a variation on familiar theme. The conventional internal combustion engine has been replaced by a modern powerful electric motor and diesel tanks replaced by batteries and charging technology. The use of conventional materials and layout provides a familiarity to passengers and must therefore reassure any potential purchasing authority. Until now, the chassis, motors, and the batteries for the buses have been built by BYD in China before being shipped to ADL for body assembly and internal fitting in the UK. Clearly, shipping bulky products around the world is not ideal. The model is being improved as, going forward, the chassis will be built in the UK.