Donegal’s Electric Bus

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The Harris Group has won the contract to supply electric buses to Glenveagh National Park in Donegal. Called STEED (Sustainable Transport Electric Energy Delivered) the bus has been built to Harris Group specifications by Higer, China’s leading bus and coach exporter. The STEED will be the first bus of its type to enter usage in the public sector network in Ireland and will support the Government’s aim to reduce emissions.

As part of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s tendering process, the STEED was demonstrated at Glenveagh National Park in February 2020 to showcase its ability to perform in this environment. Harris Group CEO Denise Harris commented: “The Steed is the latest in a long line of innovations pioneered by the Harris Group and underlines our position as the leading distributor of commercial e-vehicles in Ireland and the UK. We have always kept our focus on the future, and today, against the backdrop of climate change, that means a transition to zero-emissions, green transport technology… The Government’s Climate Action Plan sets out clear targets in relation to the of the public transport fleet and a move to EV buses. At Harris Group, our commitment to new thinking drives us towards innovative solutions, and we are delighted to work with The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht along with the National Parks and Wildlife Service in implementing future-focused transport solutions.”

Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan T.D., commented: “Our National Parks deliver nature conservation and habitat protection to our native species, and protecting this environment is key to our long term goals for the National Parks service. These world-class electric vehicles will assist in significantly lowering the carbon footprint of our visitor activities.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring T.D., added “I am delighted that my department was able to provide funding for this initiative. Glenveagh National Park is a national treasure and I can’t think of a more appropriate place for us to invest in zero-emissions transport solutions.”

Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development in Fáilte Ireland, who also contributed to the funding of this project, added: “Fáilte Ireland welcomes the news of the purchase of the first electric buses for Ireland’s National Parks. Sustainability is crucial to protect and preserve our natural environment and the provision of electric buses is a very welcome move to delivering a more sustainable visitor experience at our National Parks.”

Powered by CATL lithium ion batteries producing 174 kW of output the STEED is delivered with its own CCS2 DC fast-charging infrastructure providing a full charge in less than two hours, maximising on-road time and reducing operating costs. The STEED also leads the charge in terms of passenger accessibility and capacity, with a low-entry flat floor enabling easy wheelchair access. Additional features include saloon air conditioning and low power, high output destination boards.

The STEED’s advanced technology means that it will adjust to precisely match the terrain of Glenveagh in order to optimise its battery performance and minimise charging requirements. The first buses will be handed over in August with the service following shortly after.

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Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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