BusConnects Dublin includes the transition to a zero emission bus fleet to create a cleaner and more liveable city, contributing to the national priority to tackle climate change. This project also includes the electrification of existing bus depots and the construction of new depots to support operation of the fully electric fleet.

The first electric buses commenced operating in Dublin in late 2023, with charging capacity in place in Summerhill and Phibsborough depots. The NTA intends that 85% of the Dublin Metropolitan Area urban bus network will be operated by low and zero emission buses by 2032, and solely by zero emission buses by 2035.

The introduction into service of the 280 double-deck plug-in hybrid buses in 2021 and 2022 represented a first, and not insignificant, step towards the decarbonisation of the urban public bus fleet. Aside from offering reductions in diesel fuel consumption of up to 30% compared to equivalent capacity diesel-only buses, qualifying as a ‘clean vehicle’ under the European Union’s revised Clean Vehicles Directive and being certified as an Ultra-Low Emission Bus by the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (subsequently renamed as the Zemo Partnership), the buses were also capable of operating in zero-tailpipe-emission mode along geo-fenced sections of the routes that they operated thanks to a 32kWh on-board traction battery pack.

To support the charging of the traction battery packs on these buses (which assists with prolonging the extent of zero-tailpipe-emission operation but is not essential to the operation of the buses), charging stations have been installed at Dublin Bus depots in Dublin. 

Double-deck plug-in hybrid diesel-electric bus (left), lower deck with prominent and distinctive priority seating (centre) and permanent wheelchair space with real-time passenger information display (right)

Double-Deck Battery-Electric Buses

Following a procurement competition, the NTA entered into a framework agreement in March 2022 for the supply of double-deck battery-electric buses. An initial order for 120 vehicles was placed in 2022, comprising 100 double-deck electric buses for Dublin Bus and 20 double-deck electric buses for Bus Éireann. A second order for 91 vehicles was placed in 2023 comprising of 50 double-deck electric buses for Dublin Bus and 41 double-deck electric buses for Bus Éireann.

As with the single-deck long-length battery-electric buses procured by the NTA, these buses offer excellent accessibility, separate wheelchair and buggy spaces and a high level of comfort for both the passengers and the driver.

Double-deck battery-electric bus new in 2023 and operated by Dublin Bus on DMA bus services, permanent wheelchair space (centre) and dedicated area for pram/pushchair/buggy (right)

Depot Electrification

There are 56 charging guns and associated infrastructure installed at Summerhill bus depot, with
a further 80 charging guns installed at Phibsborough bus depot. A total of 136 high-power charging guns are therefore now available to support the operation of battery-electric buses within the Dublin region, together with a further 8 lower-power charging guns primarily designed to support the operation of hybrid buses.

Close-up of charging station