Electric Bus

New NCT Electric Bus from Yutong in Red and Silver livery

Nottingham City Transport’s first new electric buses are now complete and will be carrying passengers on Nottingham’s streets from January 2024.

Ahead of their introduction, you’ll see them out and about as our drivers and engineers familiarise themselves with these new buses and the final infrastructure works take place at our Trent Bridge Garage, where they will be based. Frustratingly, there has been a delay completing the power connection to our garage, which has delayed the introduction of the new buses by a few weeks.

24 electric single decks have been ordered in this first batch, split into two batches – 12 before Christmas 2023 and on the road in January 2024 and 12 by the end of March 2024. We've also ordered a further 24 single decks, due to be delivered in 2025.

Take a peak at our first new electric bus here:

Want to know more about our electric buses, take a look at our FAQ’s:

Which routes will the electric buses operate on?

The first 12 will be introduced on the following routes:

  • Pink 30 to Ilkeston Road, Wollaton and Bramcote
  • Blue 39 to Thorneywood and Carlton Valley
  • Red 50 to Racecourse Park & Ride, Colwick Industrial Estate and Victoria Retail Park

The routes for the next 12 will be announced in the New Year.

What new customer features do these electric buses have?

The electric buses come to our usual high standard and specification, but also feature:

  • air conditioning as standard
  • re-positioned visual next stop screen, including a rear facing screen which can be seen from the wheelchair bay
  • extra leg room between seats
  • bigger buggy bay
  • hearing loop system fitted
  • no tip up seats in the wheelchair bay, which helps reduce conflict over use of the space
  • USB-C charging points
  • full colour destination displays that are easier to see from a distance and in the dark
Interior of new electric bus showing seats, wheelchair and buggy bay

How many miles can these new electric buses do in a single charge?

250-275 miles, which is enough to cover a full day in service.

The electric buses we’re buying have been used in the UK since 2017 and we’ve visited operators who are already using them, who back up their range including in the winter.

How do you charge the electric buses?

The buses are charged overnight, using electric charging infrastructure installed at our Trent Bridge Garage.

This charging infrastructure draws its electricity from the National Grid, just like most homes and businesses. Dedicated cables were installed into our garage over the summer, as shown here:

Works taking place to install dedicated cables to NCT's garage

Introducing electric buses allows us to further reduce the amount of diesel we consume, which means fewer diesel tankers visiting us and lower emissions. 

How many Zero-Emission buses are there in the UK?

As at July 2023, there are 2,420 zero emission buses in the UK:

  • 2,330 battery electric
  • 90 hydrogen fuel cell.

Ahead of our 24 new electric buses entering service, Nottinghamshire already has the third highest number of battery electric buses in England.


You’re calling these Zero-Emission buses, how?

Our new electric buses meet the accepted definition and accreditation by Zemo Partnership – who support the Department for Transport - for a Zero Emission bus, which is that the vehicle must:

  • have no combustion engines on-board (including diesel heaters);
  • produce no regulated emissions from the tailpipe(s);
  • achieve a 50% well-to-wheel greenhouse gas saving compared to a conventional Euro VI diesel over the UK Bus Cycle.

Our new electric buses are 100% electric and have no diesel heater or tailpipe and actually achieve a 79% saving in Well-to-Wheel greenhouse gas emissions compared to existing Euro VI diesel buses.

We accept there are emissions associated with the production of electricity (as there is with production of all fuels), but 54% of electricity comes from low carbon energy sources, which continues to increase. 

The buses may have no tailpipe emissions, but electricity is produced from dirty fuel, such as coal.

Zemo Partnership certifies vehicles following independent physical testing to ensure public money supports proven low and zero emission vehicle technologies that will perform in service.

Last tested in March 2023, there is a 79% saving in Well-to-Wheel greenhouse gas emissions from our new electric buses compared to existing Euro VI diesel buses.

Emissions from electricity generation has been falling for several years, mainly from changes in the mix of fuels being used for generation. In 2022 coal made up 2.4% of fuel used for electricity generation, compared to 65.3% in 1990. Nuclear and renewables, which are low carbon energy sources, accounted for 54.0% of fuel used for electricity generation in 2022. 

As emissions from electricity generation continue to fall and the national grid continues to get “greener”, the 79% greenhouse gas emissions saved by our electric buses will only increase – compare this with a diesel bus which will always emit the same amount during its lifetime. 

You can see how electricity is being generated in real time.

If you have a power cut, how will you run your buses?

A power cut would affect us regardless of how the buses are fuelled – as our bio-gas station and diesel pumps all need electricity to operate.

Thankfully, power cuts are exceptionally rare and we haven’t had one for decades. Our energy supplier works very closely with the National Grid and is a trusted, reliable partner to many bus operators who similarly haven’t had any issues with supply.

How has the electric bus project been funded?

The total cost of this first phase of our electric bus project, which includes the cost for the new buses and infrastructure, comes to £34m.

£15.2m of that cost is being supported from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) Fund. The remaining £18.8m is investment by NCT, which, like all the diesel and bio-gas buses we’ve purchased, is spread over several years in the same way homeowners pay for the mortgage on their house.

What are the emission savings from these buses?

The new electric buses replace older diesel single deck buses, which although they meet the most stringent Euro VI emission standards, still have tailpipe emissions and are reaching an age they need replacing.

Zemo Partnership certifies vehicles following independent physical testing to ensure public money supports proven low and zero emission vehicle technologies that will perform in service.

Last tested in March 2023, there is a 79% saving in Well-to-Wheel greenhouse gas emissions from our new electric buses compared to existing Euro VI diesel buses.

When our electric bus project is fully delivered, 3,800 tonnes of CO2e will be saved each and every year. Over the lifetime of the buses, they will also make a significant contribution to wider efforts to improve air quality, with an estimated 31 tonnes of harmful NOx and 777kg of PM2.5 removed from the atmosphere.

ZEMO Certificates>>>

Who is the manufacturer of your new electric buses?

Our single decks are manufactured by Yutong Bus & Coach, who have 138,000 Yutong electric vehicles operating in 100 countries around the world, where they’ve covered a combined 22.5 billion miles.

They’ve been in the UK for a few years too, with operators in Glasgow, Newport and nearby Leicester speaking very favourably about their performance.

Why have you not chosen a British manufacturer to make your electric buses?

NCT has a long track record of supporting bus building in the UK, although many are now owned by international companies. Our bio-gas buses were assembled and bodied in the UK, but their chassis was manufactured overseas.

We undertook a rigorous public procurement process and operational trial of many electric buses. Some of those bus trials were disappointing and the buses just didn’t meet our needs and would likely have required more buses than we actually needed, as we’d have to swap and charge them during the day.

Yutong Bus & Coach were the clear winner, with tried and tested buses that are superior in terms of space and comfort for passengers, with air conditioning as standard. Their buses can do a full days’ operation on a single, overnight charge and come with advanced battery technology and safety systems.

In today’s global market, buying only British is increasingly difficult as components and parts for buses come from all over the world. Other UK based manufacturers, for example, who participated in our procurement process partner with other Chinese bus manufacturers for large parts of the vehicle, primarily the battery and electrics.    

Our electric buses support British jobs in Yorkshire by Pelican Bus & Coach, who finish the buses to NCT’s specification, and Pelican have expanded in recent years because of the volume of buses and coaches they are importing. 

During procurement for further electric buses, we look forward to receiving bids from British manufacturers who can meet our expectations and requirements.

Why have you purchased electric buses, when cobalt for the batteries is mined in unethical ways?

Our buses use LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery packs, which do not contain cobalt.

How long do the batteries last and what happens to the batteries on these buses, when they’re not needed?

Like in your smart phone, batteries slowly begin to lose the amount of energy they can store over time. The batteries on our buses are intended to last for around 8-10 years, at which point they will be replaced.

Whilst they’re no longer suitable for use on buses, they are refurbished and repurposed for use in a more controlled environment.

Our energy partner, Zenobe, refurbish batteries to create Powerskids, which are temporary power sources which run as a clean alternative to a diesel generator. They are already being used to provide power homes, festivals, film shoots and construction sites of all sizes

Second life battery use

There are concerns about electrical vehicles fire, what safety measures are in place?

Vehicle fires are thankfully very rare, but can occur in any vehicle regardless of how it’s powered – indeed, two of our diesel buses have caught fire in the last twenty years.

Of the last 120 reported bus fires across the UK, only 4 were linked to battery electric vehicles. 

Currently there are two battery cell chemistries used for buses - Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) and Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC). Research has shown those using LFP as less susceptible to thermal runaway events than other types and these are the types of battery pack our buses have.

The battery management system on our new electric buses is unique to Yutong and constantly monitors temperature, voltage, current and capacity in the batteries. There is also a fire suppression system in the engine compartment.

The vehicles are fitted with the Yutong Electric Safety System as standard. This market leading system builds upon the inherent safety features of the Lithium Iron Phosphate Batteries. The batteries are fitted into crash protective envelopes, where they are encased with a nitrogen protection system as well as a thermal retardant material.

All of our engineers who will be working and maintaining the electric buses have completed advanced training to ensure they keep them in a tip, top and safe condition.

Why have you not purchased bio-gas single decks?

Bio-gas single decks are no longer available to purchase as new vehicles. The government has also shifted its guidance and funding to the bus industry to zero-emission vehicles at the tailpipe, which only electric buses can meet.

Why have you not purchased hydrogen buses?

Hydrogen powered buses were not available when we procured our electric buses.

They are relatively new to the UK market and there is not yet the infrastructure or network in place to supply operators with the amount of hydrogen needed. This summer, in other parts of the UK, hydrogen powered buses were temporarily taken out of service because there was not enough hydrogen available to fuel the buses.

Extracting hydrogen is also energy intensive. The International Energy Agency reports that 96% of the world’s hydrogen comes from coal and gas. These methods of hydrogen production release carbon dioxide (CO2) and unburnt methane into the atmosphere. Cleaner methods of hydrogen production are in their infancy, but would need to be significantly expanded to meet the bus industry’s needs.