die belebende Bedenkung

Rethinking the new generation

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According to the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, there is only ‘low level resistance’ to the Leeds NGT trolleybus scheme, and a battery powered alternative is not possible.

Consultation in 2009 showed that while there was some low-level resistance to the scheme, 77% of the 2,600 or so people who filled in a questionnaire supported NGT and 76% of the respondents supported the use of trolleybuses.

Since drop-in sessions started again in November last year, over 500 people have attended one or more of the nine events. Some had previously not engaged in the process or had simply forgotten the details of NGT, while others were concerned about the plans due to the myths and misinformation being circulated by the scheme’s opponents.

There are currently no ‘pure’ battery buses available which can carry the required number of people to operate the rapid transit NGT service. Whilst some battery powered buses are in operation, these are lower capacity vehicles than are required for NGT.

For a bus large enough to run NGT, the weight of batteries dictates that the batteries would need topping up during operations – this is known as ‘opportunity charging’. A recent study with industry experts, which looked at alternative bus drivetrains until 2030, was not able to evaluate an ‘opportunity charge’ battery-powered articulated bus, because the concept has yet to be proven in tests, let alone in commercial operation.

One of the main problems with ‘opportunity charge’ electric buses is that they require a significant layover time at each end of the route to recharge the batteries, which can substantially increase costs, because of the additional vehicles and drivers required.

It is therefore not currently feasible to promote a battery powered alternative to trolleybus, as we cannot demonstrate that it would be deliverable at the Public Inquiry and we cannot begin the procurement process.

NGT, in its current form, is a lemon. If it is to go ahead, there is a need for a re-think on the fundamentals. For example, by making the trolleybuses double deck, instead of articulated, they would be more manoeuvrable (and perhaps some of the most disruptive land take could be avoided). And the vehicles should be capable of off-wire operation, with the opportunity charging happening on the go, on the wired section into Leeds.

Written by beleben

April 22, 2013 at 11:29 am

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