Nottingham to trial super-cap e-bus from Belarus
Nottingham City Council (NCC) is backing a three-month trial of an electric bus in the city – using ultrafast super-capacitor charging technology – built by Belarus-based BKM Holding.
Making its public debut at Coach & Bus UK, the right-hand drive example comes after a visit by Nottingham Mayor Mike Edwards to the city’s twin, Minsk, Belarus, which already operates 80 of the 12.2m E420 buses. A further four of the full low-floor design are currently on trial in Azerbaijan.
Based in Minsk, BKM Holding has been building trolleybuses and trams since 1973 and has been in the hybrid/electric bus market since 2012.
Charged using a roof-mounted pantograph, it will be operated on behalf of Nottingham City Council by CT4N, which already runs a fleet of 30 BYD and 28 Optare electric buses on a variety of city-centre routes, mainly linking the city’s medical facilities and park-and-ride site.
With its wheel-forward design and complete front cab making conventional, fare collection difficult, NCC says the E420 is most likely to be deployed on the 10-minute interval Medilink route from Queen’s Drive park-and-ride to the city’s two hospitals, providing free journeys.
Operated under contract by CT4N for the council and NHS, Medilink carries a high proportion of pass holders and concessionary free travellers, meaning the loss of income will be small.
To quickly deliver a demonstration vehicle, BKM Holding has adapted an existing body currently in production for left-hand drive, but would produce conventional door-forward versions of its 12.5m E321 model for the UK market.
After completing the Individual Vehicle Acceptance (IVA) process, it is expected to start work in Nottingham in mid-November 2019. After its work in Nottingham, it will be available for demonstration elsewhere in the UK.
Already, interest has already been shown by operators of car park shuttles, who see the use of super-capacitors as an alternative to the weight and life-cycle of battery-electric buses.
The E420 takes just seven minutes to charge and delivers 90,000 charging cycles – more than 10 years equivalent battery lifetime.
With a range of 30km for normal loadings, and 20km when fully loaded, for the trial the bus will be charged by an adapted existing charger at the Queen’s Drive site, where CT4N electric buses are already charged.
BKM Holding already produces electric buses in six lengths, from 9.5m to 18.7m artics and passenger capacities up to 155.
Find out more: www.bkm.by