Alexander Dennis’ Plaxton factory in the town is leading the electric bus market and is poised to launch its second-generation hydrogen platform, named H2.0. Giving a range of up to 300 miles without refuelling, H2.0 has been fully developed in-house by the bus manufacturing company. Being part of NFI Group, the Canadian company that took over the business in 2019, has allowed Alexander Dennis to tap into the more than 25 years of experience that sister company New Flyer has with hydrogen fuel cell electric buses.
Indeed, UK buses look set to be at the dawn of a golden age, with a modal shift from cars to public transport essential to meet the decarbonisation targets set out in the Paris Agreement. The Prime Minister has openly professed his love of buses, and has pledged to deliver 4,000 new zero emission buses before the next election. Therefore, Alexander Dennis is working with its partner BYD to assemble electric buses in its UK factories, including the Plaxton factory in Scarborough, ensuring the country’s best-selling zero emission buses are built in Britain.
“Investment in our British-built buses is an investment in our communities,” said Paul Davies, who took the helm as Alexander Dennis President and Managing Director last year. “We were established in 1895, and with our fantastic teams across the UK, we still champion innovation and technology today.”
Alexander Dennis employs 2,000 people across eight locations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and its extensive supply chain supports many further jobs. These are skilled roles in engineering and vehicle building, and the company continues its proud tradition of strong apprenticeship programmes at its manufacturing sites like Scarborough that have been bringing talent into the business for generations. In recent years, it has also made strides in attracting graduate trainees, and is committed to becoming more diverse and inclusive.
In Scarborough, the company is currently building a record order of 195 electric buses for London bus company RATP Dev – the largest order ever for zero-emission buses in Britain. Demand for coaches has suffered as a result of COVID-19, but Alexander Dennis’ flexible manufacturing model has allowed the business to turn production capacity over to a major export deal that will see 200 Scarborough-built double deckers join the fleet of the German capital, Berlin. This has allowed it to soften the impact of the pandemic on staffing levels, keeping team members on board for when the market will pick up.
“With Government support for the rapid roll-out of zero emission buses,” said Paul Davies, “we can turn the climate emergency into a unique opportunity to further develop valuable skills in our communities that will be essential for the road to net zero, as well as providing global Britain with exporting opportunities.
“Alexander Dennis is building it in Britain, and we are ready to build it back better.”
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