Winnipeg-based bus maker NFI Group Inc. has been tapped to deliver the United Kingdom’s largest ever electric bus order.

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Winnipeg-based bus maker NFI Group Inc. has been tapped to deliver the United Kingdom’s largest ever electric bus order.

It’s a purchase for 195 single and double-decker buses announced Wednesday, that comes just two days after another order for 20 such zero-emission vehicles were confirmed for the U.S. in California.

The U.K. deal has been signed between battery, energy management and electric mobility business BYD Company and Alexander Dennis Limited, a subsidiary for the NFI Group. The order was placed by RATP Dev London, a principal bus operator under contract with the local government transport network in England.

BYD managing director Frank Thorpe called the purchase a "a hugely significant moment."

“This record order is a resounding vote of confidence in our British–built electric buses and ADL’s proven ability to tailor these to authorities and operators’ requirements.” – Paul Davies, ADL president and managing director

"Public transport in the capital often provides the blueprint for other towns and cities and the fact that a major operator like RATP Dev is making such a substantial commitment to e-mobility will, I believe, resonate with many local authorities," Thorpe said in a statement. "The increasing electrification of routes by operators is delivering long-term productivity to their fleets and real environmental benefits."

"This record order is a resounding vote of confidence in our British-built electric buses and ADL’s proven ability to tailor these to authorities and operators’ requirements," said Paul Davies, ADL president and managing director. "These buses will build on our pioneering work... with a focus on safety for drivers, passengers and other road users."

Neither ADL nor BYD would reveal the value of the deal. In 2015, the two combined their strengths to cater to customers in the U.K., Ireland and New Zealand.

Since then, they’ve been particularly responsible for helping England meet a major goal for their local transport networks: making all buses in London electric or hydrogen-fuelled, and emissions-free by 2037.

So far, BYD-ADL’s Enviro400EV (double deck) and Enviro200EV (single deck) have been able to cover over 20 million zero-emission miles with just 400 buses, the companies say, and nearly 300 more are on order in the U.K. including this latest intake with RATP.

Winnipeg-based bus maker NFI Group Inc. has been tapped to deliver electric double-decker buses to the United Kingdom.

Winnipeg-based bus maker NFI Group Inc. has been tapped to deliver electric double-decker buses to the United Kingdom.

Meantime, 20 zero-emission, hydrogen fuel vehicles are also headed for the San Francisco Bay Area.

The announcement earlier this week for the 40-foot, heavy-duty cell-electric buses are a purchase from AC Transit agency, made via California state regulations towards information technology and non-IT goods, for which the top-scoring approved supplier selected was New Flyer — another subsidiary of the NFI Group.

It’s a deal that aims to advance AC Transit’s commitment to operate a 25-per-cent zero-emission fleet by 2023. It’s also a way to get closer to the goal of clean transit regulations that require all California agencies to transition to zero-emission bus fleets by 2040.

The new U.S. order follows up on a 2019 purchase of 10 other buses by AC Transit. But since since 1980, NFI has already delivered over 740 buses for the agency.

The latest purchase is being supported by American federal transit administration funds, which have made up to $180 million available in grants towards electric mobility.

“It’s solutions like those from New Flyer that are going to help us meet Canada’s climate targets.” – Minister Mary Ng

In Canada, the federal government announced a program to also provide similar funding of $2.75 billion over five years, starting in 2021, to enhance public transit systems by switching them over to cleaner electrical power.

And under the federal budget in April, Ottawa further allocated $14.9 billion over eight years with a fixed $3 billion per year after 2026 for companies to find solutions to meet the country’s climate targets.

Directly citing the NFI Group Inc., Minister Mary Ng told the Free Press the Liberals’ plan will be "dedicated in large part to companies like that, that are leading the way."

"It’s solutions like those from New Flyer that are going to help us meet Canada’s climate targets," said the MP in charge of export promotion and international trade, in an earlier interview. "And I want to be clear — they are commercial solutions that are innovating, but are also creating terrific jobs when we really need them."

As demand increases for electric buses across the world, so does competition. However, New Flyer remains the leader in electric bus models in North America. And as a larger parent company, NFI Group Inc. dominates the field across the world.

"At the end of the day, all our clients can count on proven range performance, cleaner transportation, reduced noise pollution, and elimination of greenhouse gases," said Chris Stoddart, president for subsidiaries New Flyer and Motor Coach Industries. "Our buses produce only clean water vapor from the tailpipe."

 

temur.durrani@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @temurdur