TD Criticizes as Bus Éireann Acknowledges Reduced Range When Heating Electric Buses on Cold Days During Pilot Program

TD Criticizes as Bus Éireann Acknowledges Reduced Range When Heating Electric Buses on Cold Days During Pilot Program

Admission of Electric Bus Service Issues in Athlone

Bus Éireann has admitted deficiencies in its electric bus services in Athlone, with services curtailed because their batteries ebb in cold weather.

Criticism from Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice is using the new information to rail against Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and his green agenda.

Impact of Cold Weather on Electric Vehicles

In response to queries from the Irish Independent, Bus Éireann said: “We are currently in a period of colder weather conditions which will have an impact on electric vehicles, similar to passenger cars, particularly on the batteries and range.

Assessment of Bus Management and Performance

“Some of the curtailments were unavoidable. However, we are now assessing how the management and performance of the buses and schedules can be optimised to minimise those impacts.”

Athlone’s Pathfinder Project for Green Electric Buses

Athlone is a Pathfinder project for the rollout of ‘green’ electric buses, from which Bus Éireann says it expects to learn about the use of EV technology in public transport.

Maintaining Temperature Inside the Buses

The temperature inside the buses is meanwhile “maintained at a set temperature, similar to other buses of the same type operating across the UK”, Bus Éireann said, after complaints that they are cold.

Temperature Adjustments and Impact on Vehicle Range

“The set temperature can be adjusted up or down but such adjustments are likely have a negative impact on overall vehicle range and service delivery.”

Cost Comparison with Diesel or Petrol Vehicles

It also concedes that “currently, electric vehicles are generally more expensive than their equivalent conventional diesel or petrol vehicles”.

Allegations of Buses Being Cold and Reducing Service Hours

Roscommon-Galway TD Mr Fitzmaurice said his information was that the buses were “always freezing inside” and were stopping at 8pm each night instead of the scheduled 9pm because the batteries lost charge in cold weather.

Critique of Government Spending and EV Range Issues

“It is scandalous the way taxpayers’ money is being wasted by Minister Ryan,” he said. “For starters, I have discovered that if you turn up the heat on cold days, the bus’s range is greatly reduced.

Charging Infrastructure and Time Restrictions

“My understanding is that the buses in Athlone also cannot be put on charge until midnight, to avoid putting pressure on the local grid. Bus Éireann are saying 11pm for the same reason and to avail of a lower tariff.

Use of Generators for Charging and the Viability of Alternatives

“From what I can gather, this last week has seen a situation in Dublin whereby generators were being used to charge EV buses. It boggles the mind to think that anyone could say this is progress.

“For some time now, I would have recommended the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) as an alternative to diesel and petrol that would help us achieve our targets. But Minister Ryan seems to not want anybody using HVO, even though it cuts emissions by 90pc because it isn’t cutting them by 100pc. Well, can we really say these buses are cutting emissions by 100pc?

The Reality of Battery Degradation and Replacement Costs

“The stark reality is that after 12 to 18 months, the battery-charging capacity on these EV buses will be reduced by about 30pc. It is my understanding that a replacement battery for one of these buses could cost up to €100,000.

Openness to Innovation with Efficient Use of Taxpayers’ Money

“I have no problem with new ideas or new ways of doing things, provided they are efficient and that hard-earned taxpayers’ money is not being wasted.”