In addition to the ongoing trial with a BYD C9 in NUS, ComfortDelGro Bus has initiated another trial with a different BYD coach – this time a BYD C8 in Sentosa, PC9768D.
The electric bus trials were hinted at during the launch of the Sentosa sustainability road map in September 2021, where it was mentioned that trials with ComfortDelGro Bus would start in October. Shortly after, a BYD C8 coach previously in plain white was registered as PC9768D and wrapped with a promotional wrap.
PC9768D made its debut in early October 2021, running on Sentosa bus services (ie. A, B, C etc). As can be seen in the photos, the wrap is very similar to the one on the C9 at NUS, with the same green patterns and “electric bus” in rounded font on the windows. However, as this trial is under ComfortDelGro Bus and not the Living Lab, the logo on the sides is accordingly different.
The rear also contains an advertisement for the ComfortConnect app.
The BYD C8 in this trial is shorter (around 10 metres long) than the C9 (12 metres), and only has one door, unlike the C9 which has two. A BYD C9 like PC8313P would be registered as a CK6120LLEV, indicating its actual Chinese model code, but PC9768D is registered merely as a “C8 Electric Bus” so I am not sure what is the official model code. Also, the BYD C9s in Singapore have bodywork from BYD itself, but this C8 coach is bodied by a Malaysian company, Pioneer Coachbuilders, with a variant of their Dragoes III body. This gives it a different-looking interior with an orange theme.
PC9768D is fitted with the a Shenzhen KABYM EDS and passenger information system. This is the same as the ISBs, PC8313P and Sentosa’s Scania K230UBs, but not the same as the Volvo buses in the Sentosa fleet which use a Mobitec system. It has been modified from the ISB configuration (e.g. displaying “Next” and “Current” instead of “Next Stop” and “Arriving”) and broadcasts Sentosa’s own recorded announcements at each stop. A “bus stopping” indicator and bell setup has also been installed in the bus.
The carrying capacity of PC9768D is 40, only one less than PC8313P’s 41. For some reason, the last row is two pairs of seats and not a continuous row across, so there is no rear middle seat.
I have previously mentioned that PC8313P has pretty generous legroom, so you can imagine that the seats in PC9768D are closer together. Nevertheless, the legroom is still adequate. The seats are supplied by Malaysian company APM Seatings and have Pioneer logos. They also feature footrests, although I couldn’t quite fit my feet into them.
PC9768D was deployed to Sentosa Bus B when I visited, using a slightly different EDS formatting from the Scania K230UBs (probably due to different hardware). The side EDS merely says “Bus B”, and there is no rear EDS. As a trial bus, it also operated outside of the Sentosa bus schedule, and a sign saying “Electric Bus Trial” was mounted in the front and side windows.
As for the ride experience, there… really isn’t much to say about it. Having ridden on PC8313P, and quite a few other electric buses, they feel mostly the same (smooth and quiet) and PC9768D was no exception. Though I must say the torquey motor helped us get up the slopes in Sentosa decently well. The single door did result in somewhat longer dwell time.
As mentioned, this electric bus trial is part of the bigger Sentosa sustainability road map. All of Sentosa’s on-island public transportation is expected to be electrified by 2025 – the fleet of beach trams is already mostly electric, and soon the buses will be too. Let’s see how things go at NUS.
2022 Updates: From 1 August 2022, PC9768D was transferred to NUS to help kickstart scheduled electric bus operations there.
In end-November 2022, PC9768D was withdrawn from the NUS ISB network. At the same time, however, two Zhongtong N12 (2-door) buses were transferred from NUS to Sentosa, marking the commencement of scheduled electric bus operations there.