Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

THE HARROGATE BUS COMPANY BEGINS NEW PHASE OF ELECTRIC BUS TRIALS ON BUSY INTER-URBAN ROUTE

15 Feb 2021 by JOHN GELSON

Operator aims to build buses back better with comparison trials using high-tech battery powered bus between Harrogate and Knaresborough

A new trial featuring the latest zero emission electric transport technology is now underway in Harrogate as the town’s leading bus operator, The Harrogate Bus Company, prepares for future investment beyond the pandemic.

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A second high-tech battery-powered electric bus has been brought in for a trial on the bus firm’s popular route 1 linking Harrogate and Knaresborough, following initial experience with an alternative all-electric single deck bus in October 2020.

A Yutong E10 electric bus, supplied by Yorkshire-based Pelican Bus and Coach, is being loaned to The Harrogate Bus Company by Tyneside-based operator Go North East to enable the new trial. The bus is powered by 422 kWh water-cooled batteries, capable of a 370 km range on a single 3.4-hour charge.

The results will be compared with outcomes from last Autumn’s trial operation on the same Harrogate bus route of another electric single-deck bus, manufactured by British company Alexander Dennis in partnership with the Chinese firm BYD, the world’s largest maker of rechargeable batteries and new energy vehicles.

The Harrogate Bus Company is looking to build on its positive experience of running electric buses, after it became the first operator in Britain to introduce ‘opportunity charged’, pioneering ‘Harrogate Electrics’ buses in 2018. At that time, the Starbeck-based firm became the only operator in Yorkshire to win funding of £2.25 million from the Government to create Britain’s first Low Emission Bus Town.

The Harrogate Bus Company CEO Alex Hornby said: “We’re delighted to begin the second phase of our electric bus trials, as we look ahead to future options for electric power on one of our most popular routes, the 1 between Harrogate and Knaresborough, all to complement the existing zero emission fleet on the local town network in Harrogate.

“With a bus usually up to every 7 minutes, the 1 is a vitally important link between the two towns and an ideal place to put the bus industry’s newest technology to the test.

“The Yutong E10 bus is being loaned to us by Go North East and is used on a route very similar in frequency and usage to our own route here. We’re also in discussions with Pelican Bus and Coach in Castleford, who finished and supplied the buses for use here in the UK, following extensive development work with Yutong on their design and specification.

“Our comparative trials will help us to develop our aspirations for future investment as we look to make informed choices between options for electric power on one of our most popular routes.

“We’re constantly looking to build buses back better as part of our strategy for our company and industry, demonstrating our belief that our buses will continue to play a vitally important role beyond the current pandemic in boosting the economy, both locally in Harrogate and across Yorkshire and the north of England.”

Full details of route 1 between Harrogate and Knaresborough, and all other services run by The Harrogate Bus Company, are available online at: https://www.transdevbus.co.uk/harrogate and on its free to download ‘Transdev Go’ mobile app.