The Anonymous Widower

Solving The Problem With Electric Bus Design

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

The article opens with this paragraph.

A number of European cities have committed to securing only zero-emission buses by 2025. However, to achieve this objective, manufacturers must make bold design choices, radically changing bus componentry, systems, and bodywork. Here, it looks at the debate for greater electric bus design standardization.

Standardisation is one thing, but the article doesn’t talk about the major problem with electric bus design – For many countries like the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany, where there are lots of double-decker or articulated high-capacity buses, battery electric buses are just not big enough.

Battery-electric buses are also generally not big enough to compete with the latest designs of tram and metro systems.

These pictures show the Chinese double-deck electric double-deck buses, that ran in London.

Half of the downstairs was take up by batteries.

Where are they now?

The Belgian firm; Van Hool have a product called Exquicity. This video shows them working in Pau in France.

But these buses are powered by hydrogen.

Similar buses running in Belfast are diesel-electric.

In both the Pau and Belfast applications, I wonderwhy they didn’t use trolley-bus versions of the WxquiCity or conventional trams.


Until we get more efficient battery storage, electric buses will have difficulty competing economically in the high-capacity bus sector.

August 25, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , ,


  1. The BYD Dennis (enviro 200ev) single deckers don’t have an equivalent space loss..the battery is in a new bulge on the roof.

    Only a few routes where more buses per hour is a congestion problem rather than a cost problem (partly mitigated by ridership increases that increased frequency can generate)

    Comment by MilesT | August 25, 2020 | Reply

  2. Long bendy buses and cyclists don’t mix well. The example at least doesn’t have fraud generating rear doors.

    Comment by MilesT | August 25, 2020 | Reply

    • The example shown is hydrogen powered and the dynamics are much like a tram, rather than a bendy bus. Bendy buses are awful, and we had a lot round where I live when I moved in. Nobody talks about them with affection., with the exception of those who used them because it was easy to dodge the fare. They blocked junctions and annoyed other drivers and pedestrians.

      The tram-buses in Pau run on a separate busway.

      What do cyclists think of trams?

      Comment by AnonW | August 25, 2020 | Reply

  3. Not to mention the charging infrastructure required…

    Comment by Matthew | August 26, 2020 | Reply

    • The Waterloo depot in London cost a reported £20m to refit for electric charging for BYD Dennis single decker fleet (2 routes, 50+ vehicles with an ability to fast charge around 20 at a time). A big chunk was for a new dedicated 11KV line and substation into the depot as the power in the are was already pretty stretched, unsurprisingly (and nothing is cheap to do in built up central London).

      Comment by MilesT | August 27, 2020 | Reply

      • I’ve heard similar stories like that with railway electrification, many times.

        That’s one of the reasons, I feel that hydrogen buses could be a better bet in some places.

        Alternatively, we should plan our electricity networks better!

        Comment by AnonW | August 27, 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.