Arriva North West has been trialling a Yutong E12LF 12-metre all-electric bus in Liverpool and Manchester ahead of an order of 12 BYD EV 12-metre buses for services in Liverpool.
It is increasingly evident that bus operators want to explore their options when it comes to cleaner and greener buses. One option from China is the 12.1-metre Yutong E12LF all-electric single deck bus.
In China, Yutong produces electric vehicles across the range from 6m to 12m length, and is initially targeting Europe with the 12m version for the UK and also in France where it is supplying three two-door versions for Paris and is also considering an electric intercity coach.
The E12LF was unveiled at Euro Bus Expo 2016, it was a prominent attraction at importer Pelican Bus and Coach’s stand. It certainly stood out wrapped in Arriva’s livery, sparking a much speculation in the enthusiast community.
Electric buses from the Chinese market are all heavy-weight so far, the E12LF is no exception. Weighing 13.4t unladen, it isn’t exactly lightweight, that said, I feel the additional weight adds to the smoothness of the ride quality.
It can seat 37 passengers, with Yutong’s own seating specified. They look quite cheap, but actually are quite padded and really comfortable for the 50-minute journey on the 263 service between Manchester Piccadilly and Altrincham Interchange. Interestingly, there are 5v 3.0 amp USB ports situated adjacent most seats.
Interestingly, the demonstrator bus has tinted double glazed windows and air conditioning. Although the air conditioning was not in use on a dreary Manchester day in June, I can certainly see the advantages of having it for our rare sunny days.
The build quality of the vehicle isn’t too bad, most fixtures and fittings have been designed to a high standard, There are quite a few annoying rattles and squeaks that are amplified particularly when traversing some of Manchester’s less maintained roads.
I think the Yutong E12LF can certainly become a contender in the UK’s EV bus market, it gives variety over lightweight solutions from the likes of Optare and Wrightbus. With a little bit of refinement and tailoring it more to the UK market, it could become a strong contender – particularly if it was matched to a quality maintenance and warranty package.