Features & Interviews

Five minutes with… Chris Gall, Group Engineering Director, Alexander Dennis

26 July 2023 #Features & Interviews

How can the Government make it easier for bus operators to install EV charging in depots?

Yes they can, by simplifying the process. Currently operators planning to electrify their depots have to work with and get approval from many different stakeholders, including their local authority, Highways Agency, planning regulators, power companies, environmental agencies, Health & Safety Executive, the local fire brigade just to name a few.

This is expensive and time consuming, a depot conversion can take several years and this does not support the speed with which the bus fleet needs to be decarbonised as well as the expectation from government for the transition. A single agency that has overall responsibility, with simple processes would benefit operators massively and is something government should consider.

What has been the response of those who have travelled on the CAVForth trial autonomous buses in Scotland?

The overwhelming response has been positive – people are interested in and keen to try the technology, and even in some cases disappointed that the experience was being ‘like on a normal bus’. I consider this to be the strongest endorsement of our autonomous bus, the Enviro200AV.

The drivers have also provided very positive feedback; we have some refinement to do on the reaction of the vehicle under certain conditions but this is part of the normal development process.

CAVForth is demonstrating that autonomous buses are at the vanguard of the move towards Level 4 autonomy.

Tell us about AD24, the Alexander Dennis aftermarket service?

At Alexander Dennis, we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our customers once we have delivered a bus or coach to them. From 24/7 in-depot maintenance support, through depot and ‘train the trainer’ driver training provided by our teams to a one-stop online portal for operators to receive information about their vehicles or order parts using a one-click process, we believe our service is truly world-class.

What bus refurbishment services does Alexander Dennis provide for customers?

We have two major facilities in the UK in which we provide many vehicle services for customers. Our Harlow and Anston facilities undertake a wide range of activities from MOTs, accident repairs, mid-life refurbishments all the way up to special conversions that have previously included the creation of an open-top double deck bus.

Our skilled technicians pride themselves on being able to take a bus or coach in any state of repair and return it to the customer as good as new!

Tell us about the recently expanded and repurposed Alexander Dennis facility in Larbert?

We are in the process of launching an all-new portfolio of zero-emission buses using the latest battery, fuel cell and driveline technology to provide an unrivalled combination of range, passenger comfort and reliability.

In order to support this we took the decision to create a modern manufacturing facility attached to our Larbert headquarters – once complete, this will allow us to build our new family of buses in a new environment befitting the new technology we have invested in.

We have been able to benefit from the latest industrial technology thinking paired with digital solutions to provide a clean, efficient and sustainable factory.

Chris Gall, Group Engineering Director, Alexander Dennis

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