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/Travel | , , ,


  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

  4. Daimler/Mercedes-Benz have just announced a version of their Citaro buses which uses solid-state batteries, both standard size and extended/bendy ones. Mercedes’ pages on the eCitaro are at and there’s an interesting article at

    I had thought that production-scale solid-state was some years off, but I can’t see a company like Daimler making claims they can’t substantiate. If the price is competitive with lithium-based batteries, this could well revolutionise electric transport.

    Meanwhile, have just started a regular Edinburgh-Dundee coach service (some 90km) using battery coaches, which they claim (probably correctly) is the first in the country. A questionable time to start such a new service, but I’ll be interested to see how they fare.

    On the subject of recharging infrastructure, ISTM long-term all buildings/structures, including bus/rail depots and stations, should generate at least some of their own power. Residential properties which don’t need daytime power could supply it to businesses which do, in a local grid. Relying on a small number of large remote power stations is an outdated concept.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 2, 2020 | Reply

    • Mercedes seem to be getting big with both batteries and hydrogen.

      They also seem to have decided, what is best for what segment of the market!

      Comment by AnonW | October 2, 2020 | Reply

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