Tuesday, 2 July 2019

The zero emission 'New Routemaster spin-off' Enviro400EV City finally entered service on London Buses Route 43

Finally, after a very long wait, the spin-off of the New Routemaster, the pure electric Enviro400EV City which is jointly manufactured by Alexander Dennis and BYD has entered in to service on London Bus route 43 as of 1st July 2019.

Bus designs have evolved to reflect similarity to the New Routemaster bus and I’d like to say a new chapter has started with the iconic Enviro400 City which has gone pure electric.

According to London Vehicle Finder, the first five of the BYD Alexander Dennis Enviro400EV City entered service on route 43 on 1st July 2019 - here's the mini fleet list.

Fleet number Registration

Here are some photos of the Enviro400EV City on their first day in service.

Back in 2015, when Alexander Dennis unveiled the Enviro400H City, the designer of the New Routemaster, Thomas Heatherwick, praised the Enviro400 City as a ‘back to front’ compliment.

Then in October 2016, the Enviro400H City bus owned by CT Plus caught fire near Liverpool Street Station; the media had mistaken the bus to be the New Routemaster because of the design similarities.

Here's the video of the Alexander Dennis Enviro400H City product, inspired by the New Routemaster bus.

Alexander Dennis has posted a video on how their Enviro400EV City product is made.

You can read more on how the New Routemaster bus influenced new bus designs in my previous article.

I also said in my previous article that private bus operator Metroline has chosen to use their own interior livery colours instead of using the burgundy and brass interior livery with LT/TfL seating moquette which is used on the Enviro400H City.

We have also noticed Metroline has chosen to cover the glazed staircase on some of their Enviro400EV City purchases because they wanted to maximise the advertising space to increase income.

Here's the TfL's bus specification on advertising as revealed under a Freedom of information request:

We do not have a specific percentage of buses that need to be painted fully red. The roof of the bus must be white and stickers and/or adverts/advertising are not permitted on the windows/glazing.

Other exterior design features that by default dictate the amount of red are:-

• the dimensions of front/back/side glazing for destination displays
• number of doors
• permitted advertising panels on each side, and back of the bus (subject to window design), and
• advert panels must be framed and in red

Any area outside of those mentioned above must be in red (a few exceptions, some small areas are black). Any request to run an advertising campaign that deviates from the above specification needs prior approval.

I believe London bus operators should purchase the Enviro400 City in hybrid or pure electric, they can modify the glazed staircase design if they wish to maximise the advertising space. I believe Wrightbus could do the same with the SRM which is a spin-off to the New Routemaster bus. Unfortunately there are only a small number of the SRMs in London operation as bus operators prefer to purchase conventional buses which are efficient to their budget.

My personal view is that Wrightbus should complete the Enviro400EV City by refreshing their product range by restarting the SRM bodywork product and develop the battery electric drive system to make the SRM pure zero emission. Volvo used the SRM bodywork for their B5LHC product, but they still have the diesel engine to recharge the battery.
I believe Wrightbus should make various design tweaks such as the rear of the top deck for their SRM product.

As Wrightbus still feature the three-door, two-staircase New Routemaster product on their website, they could develop the New Routemaster to be a pure zero-emission battery electric bus.

I also wish to add that TfL stated on a Freedom of Information request they do not restrict bus operators purchasing the Enviro400 City and the Wright SRM for their fleet:

We have interpreted SRM as being ‘son of routemaster’. In other words, the spin-off vehicles being produced by Wrightbus and Alexander Dennis. These vehicles are bought or leased by bus operators, not TfL, and we do not determine that these models should be used for routes. It is their choice and therefore if the operators choose to buy or lease them, this will increase this type of bus in the fleet. We don't hold details such as vehicle costs as our private operators buy or lease, and we weren't involved in a project to develop them.

A few months ago, CT Plus purchased nine Enviro400H City buses for their route 20 contact which commenced service on Saturday 23rd March 2019.

The next route expected to convert to zero-emission double-deck battery electric buses is route 134, they are expected to enter service in August 2019 using the Optare Electric Metrodecker purchased by Metroline for their route contract.

I have written in depth about the Enviro400 City because the bus type is popular among bus companies in Britain, hence the reason why it's seen in many areas of Britain. I feel that I must state again that the Enviro400 City (bodywork design) is the icon of Britain.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter by searching for @CLondoner92

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