Leading commercial vehicle distributor Harris Group has announced their successful tender for the contract to supply electric buses to service Glenveagh National Park in Donegal on behalf of The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Called the STEED (Sustainable Transport Electric Energy Delivered), the vehicle has been optimised to Harris Group specifications by manufacturer Higer, China’s leading bus and coach exporter. The STEED will be the first of its type to enter usage in the public sector network and supports the Government aims to reduce emissions.
In late 2019, The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht advertised an Open Procurement Tender Competition for the purchase of electric buses to supply Glenveagh National Park.
Harris Group, understanding the superior ability and value that the STEED presents, offered the Higer full-electric model as their contender for the contract. As part of this tendering process, the STEED was demonstrated at Glenveagh National Park in February 2020 to showcase its ability to perform in this environment.
Harris Group was awarded the contract in March 2020, with the signing taking place at a ‘socially distant’ meeting in the offices of The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht on May 5th.
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 decarbonisation 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.