Following the successful appointment of Stagecoach Group, the UK’s largest bus and coach operator, to run London bus route 323, we were engaged to facilitate the electrification of the group’s West Ham bus garage to enable the introduction of five fully electric BYD buses.
Route 323 runs from Mile End to Canning Town, through a densely populated area of London that has suffered from poor air quality for a number of years. The introduction of five fully electric buses on the route that serves three schools in the area will contribute to improved air quality as well as reduced noise pollution.
We were appointed to undertake the installation of a complete electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure package at West Ham bus garage. One of the preliminary objectives of the project was to ensure the garage could cope with the increased demand of electricity required to charge five fully electric buses.
This meant an upgrade of the existing network was required to ensure there was enough incoming electricity capacity. Once enough capacity was secured, the installation of four 80kW charge points and one mobile charger along with the associated infrastructure to safely power the chargers could take place.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic occurred during the early stages of the project leading to additional procurement and operational challenges as well as management of multiple teams required to fully commission the infrastructure while adhering to social distancing measures.
Our approach and Innovation
To meet the needs of the West Ham project we carried out a detailed design of the works, ensuring they aligned and integrated into the day-to day today operations of the busy bus depot. :
1. We began with preparation works that included the disconnection and removal of the existing feeder pillar, low voltage (LV) panel and supply cabling. We then extended the existing cable pit and cable duct to allow for the installation of a concrete plinth for a new LV feeder pillar. The LV pillar is critical, it delivers electricity to the EV chargers at a safe and suitable voltage.
2. We deployed a temporary generator while installing the new LV switchboard extension panel in order to maintain a consistent and reliable supply to the bus depot whilst the changeover occurred. A new supply was installed for the new LV feeder pillar that now supplies the new EV charger points.
3. A smart charging system with the latest EV charging software was incorporated within the LV switch room, with communications equipment and ethernet cabling connected to each EV charger. All works were tested before being commissioned into service and are continually being monitored to maintain high performance.
Our accreditation of ISO 44001 for collaborative business relationship management empowers us to develop a strong working relationships with our clients, and the team at Stagecoach and West Ham bus garage were no different. This was particularly pertinent with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. By utilising this collaborative approach we continued to maintain channels of communication throughout the lifecycle of the project which was critical for an on time delivery.
Despite these challenges, delivery of the project was achieved on budget and without any delays to the schedule. We are proud the work we undertook will support Stagecoach to meet its sustainability requirements by deploying five more electric buses to the roads of London and contributing to cleaner air for the local community.