The Harris Group has created history in supplying the first electric bus to enter service in an Irish public sector network. The Commercial Vehicle distributor for the Irish and UK markets was successful in the tender application for the contract to supply electric buses to serve Glenveagh National Park in Donegal on behalf of The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The zero-emission passenger transport vehicle, called the STEED (Sustainable Transport Electric Energy Delivered), has been optimised to Harris Group specifications by manufacturer Higer, China’s leading bus and coach exporter.
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. The 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 5 May.
Commenting on the successful tender, Harris Group CEO Denise Harris said: “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.”
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.