About Newport Bus electric vehicles

4 years ago Mon 18th Nov 2019

Electric bus on Friars Walk

Updated 05/05/21

Following comments on our social media pages, please find below answers to the most common questions received on our fully electric buses. 

1. Electronic and buses – what about if the bus runs out of power?

The electric bus will not be running out of power. In operations, the bus will return to the depot when the charge reaches approximately 20%. This first addition to our fleet is an ex-demonstrator bus. However, the next buses are brand new and have a higher power charge, which increases the range of operation.

2. Electric buses are not completely zero-emission vehicles as electricity is required to charge the batteries. What is the infrastructure in place at the depot?

Newport Transport has partnered with Zenobe Energy, an independent owner and operator of energy storage. Working with Zenobe ensures that the energy required to charge the buses will be from renewable sources. Newport Transport already utilises 214 solar panels and this is in the process of being expanded. We are working with our partners to ensure that the operations of our electric buses will be as close to zero emission as possible.

3. It has been reported in the press about children as young as five years old working in mines to get the elements to make electric batteries.

The elements mined to produce the batteries supplied by Yutong are iron, phosphate and lithium. The reference to child labour is in relation to the mining of cobalt, which is not used in these batteries.
By working with reputable partners, we ensure that due diligence is given to the accreditation of suppliers.

4, Will the bus be able to operate a whole day on one charge?

The first Yutong bus purchased by Newport Transport is expected to cover 187 km (116 miles) on a single charge, making it suitable for most routes around the City of Newport. The newer buses benefit from larger batteries increasing the range to 380 km. 

5. What route will the electric bus be operating on?

The electric fleet operates on most of the routes that currently operate a full-size single-deck vehicle. The objective is to lower the air pollution in the areas of the city which suffer the most from poor air quality. The first seven of the fourteen buses have been dedicated to Route 29 / 29A and the Caerleon Road corridor, which has two areas of poor air quality. 

With the extended fleet and the different size vehicles, we now operate all areas of our network. 

6. The electric bus appears to be a small bus with steps inside, making it dangerous for the elderly and disabled and with very limited seating.

All buses are low-floor and compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The Yutong E12 electric buses ordered by Newport Transport are similar to our current single-deck fleet and have a seating capacity of 39 seats. 
We have reviewed the option of a smaller bus that has now been purchased to operate on routes that can only cope with shorter vehicles.

7. Will this first electric bus be permanent in the streets of Newport?

The introduction of electric buses in the Newport Transport fleet is part of our bus replacement strategy. Thanks to the partnership in place with Pelican Engineering and Zenobe Energy, the cost of an E12 is comparable to a diesel bus. In addition, there are substantial financial savings due to lower maintenance requirements, believed to be in the region of 33% compared to a diesel bus.
At present, the limitation to extending the introduction of electric buses is the range. Newport Transport required a third of its vehicles to exceed the current range of 340 km of the new vehicles. This will improve over time as battery technology improves.

8. Why did you choose the Yutong E12?

We have trialled various models of electric buses over 12 to 18 months in order to choose the one that will be best suited to our network. The feedback received on the Yutong demonstrator was very positive. Research into driver and passenger acceptance showed a 94% rating from passengers and 96% from drivers, in contrast with scores in the region of 70-80% on the previous vehicles tested.

In addition, the manufacturer Yutong is one of the largest electric bus manufacturers in the world. Yutong has been manufacturing electric buses for over 15 years and produces 370 electric vehicles a day in its factory. The Yutong buses are not a new technology, with more than 60,000 fully electric buses with the same driveline in service in the world. This tested and proven model gives us peace of mind with regard to the reliability and maintenance of the vehicles.

Further information is available on our partners' websites:
Pelican Engineering / Yutong 
Zenobe Energy