This week I’ve been at Eurobus in Birmingham, where it was good to see the latest innovations in the bus, coach and minibus industry. It’s a market that has been significantly impacted by the pandemic with diminished ridership, and a green recovery is essential for growth. As well as the latest battery electric passenger carrying vehicles, the show also featured hydrogen fuel cell technologies, including buses and engines.
As part of the event, I took part in a Zero Emission Coach Taskforce roundtable on overcoming the challenges to Destination Zero. Coaches are key for the tourism and excursion industry, sporting fixtures and rail replacement services. As a result the coach sector has some specific challenges in switching to zero emission, as of course unlike buses, they don’t follow the same routes day to day – creating an infrastructure challenge.
The bus industry can invest in depot charging for their electric fleet – although of course, this isn’t quite as straightforward or simple as it first sounds, given the grid connections involved. However, coach operators will need charging infrastructure available on routes or at destinations, a workable scenario being to recharge while their passengers enjoy their excursion to the theatre or theme park. Battery capacity is also crucial, as a thriving tourism sector needs coaches with the maximum amount of luggage space – and therefore the ability to carry larger payloads. Much will need to be done to create this infrastructure capacity to enable ambition.
Additionally this week, SMMT also hosted our popular Meet The Buyer event at Advanced Engineering, giving a number of automotive buyers engage with potential specialist component suppliers. The event is a great opportunity for businesses to build new connections and enhance their supply chain resilience – and we’ll be running more of these events in 2023.