Five facts about Manchester’s new green buses

Chris Jackson

By Chris Jackson
Head of Fleet Partnerships, Centrica Business Solutions

Five facts about Manchester’s new green buses

Earlier today Centrica was announced as the technology partner behind the largest green mass transportation scheme outside of London, with a total of 32 fully electric double-decker e-buses introduced on routes in Manchester, with a further two also live in Cambridge.

Each has a range of up to 190 miles and capacity to carry around 80 passengers and will save 920,000 litres of diesel a year, reducing annual CO2 by 2,400 tonnes.

It’s a significant project for Centrica Business Solutions, here’s five reasons why.

The clever thinking behind the project

We worked with Stagecoach to determine which routes were suitable for electric vehicles, clearly its vital that we can operate routes uninterrupted by ensuring every vehicle has sufficient charge for the journey as it leaves the depot. We also made sure that the routes allowed us to charge the buses at different parts of the day. The buses couldn’t all charge simultaneously as this would have led to far larger costs for upgrading the incoming supply to cope with the electrical demand from the buses.

The clever technology behind the project

We’ve done everything possible to ensure that charging is as cost effective as possible. So, when solar generation is low, we have created a dynamic charging system so that Stagecoach can access lower grid energy costs. Our FlexPond™ system matches grid demands for additional capacity with suitable charging periods, accessing cheaper electricity when supply is outstripping demand on the local grid. Responding to demand side response requests and accessing overnight tariffs mean charging at a fraction of the cost of peak time.

Solar first approach

Stagecoach is a fantastic partner to work with and it is a privilege to support them with their decarbonisation strategy. We’ve installed a large solar array on to the roof of the Sharston depot. Solar is the primary source of power to the charger energy management system, which prioritises this ahead of the top up grid supply.

The option to increase capacity

The system is built with expansion in mind, enabling Stagecoach to scale their energy needs, when further routes are electrified. To give you an idea of the scale required to charge the 32 buses based at Stagecoach’s Sharston depot, it required a new 6.6kV HV timed connection and a new 2MVA transformer.

Fast charging infrastructure

Each bus comes equipped with two charging points and each charger has twin 40kW AC feeds. When combined, the 80kW supply means the buses can be recharged in just three and a half hours. This speed of charging is essential to minimise downtime of the vehicles and ensure maximum availability for the chosen routes.

To learn more about Centrica Business Solutions electric vehicle fleet charging capabilities, please click here.