Future is electric for Hong Kong’s bus fleet, says world’s biggest manufacturer Alexander Dennis

“Electricity is the most efficient way of transporting people around the territory. We are focusing our development on electric buses now.”

Alexander Dennis’ first electric double-decker bus in Hong Kong, the Enviro500EV, came into service on Saturday for the city’s largest bus operator Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB).
‘We see electric buses as the future here, because there is a plentiful supply of electricity,’ says Andy Boulton, managing director of Alexander Dennis. Photo: Jonathan Wong

KMB bought 10 Enviro500EV buses, two of which have commenced service on the 112 bus line from North Point to Cheung Sha Wan.

The UK-made electric bus can carry 122 passengers, the same as one of the city’s diesel double-deckers. After two hours of charging, it can travel a distance of 350km, enough to meet over 80 per cent of the daily operating needs of KMB’s bus fleet, according to the operator.

With every litre of diesel burnt generating around 2.65kg of carbon dioxide, moving forward with electric vehicles will help improve Hong Kong’s roadside air quality, Boulton added.

“A bus like this is going to cost about 60 per cent more than its equivalent diesel bus. Much of that is going to be [because of] the batteries,” said Boulton.

Although electricity is cheaper than diesel at present, new charging and maintenance facilities, mechanical training and battery replacement costs make deploying electric buses an expensive business, according to a KMB spokesman.

“Only if enough time and scale of electric buses [are] put into service, is it possible to justify the overall fuel cost savings by replacing diesel with electricity,” he said.


China’s public transport goes green as electric buses hit the streets

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KMB has set a target of upgrading its entire fleet to new energy buses by 2040, in line with the Hong Kong government’s goal of achieving zero emissions from vehicles before the middle of the century.

Alexander Dennis has plans to bring other types of battery-powered vehicle to the city.

“Later this year, we will launch our Enviro100EV … our shortest, smallest single-decker [in Hong Kong],” said Boulton.

“It’s a little bigger than a green minibus here, but we think that it will be perfect for rehabilitation buses, hospital transport and residential transport for example. All of those are ideal for this little bus which is incredibly manoeuvrable and can seat up to 28 passengers.”

He said Alexander Dennis is building a prototype of the electric bus in Zhuhai through a subcontracting partnership with Zhuhai Guangtong Vehicle Manufacture, which will arrive in Hong Kong in October.

“Manufacturing in Zhuhai helps to make the costs lower,” said Boulton. “However, all the critical chassis components are shipped from Europe so the overall cost is still more expensive than a purely Chinese supplied bus.”


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