London trials first electric buses

Electric buses are being trialled for the first time in London today in an effort to cut emissions from the Capital's bus fleet.

According to Transport for London (TfL), routes 507 and 521 will trial the new buses as the technology is particularly suitable for busy short commuter services which operate between Victoria, Waterloo and London Bridge stations.

The electric buses have zero tail pipe emissions, resulting in lower carbon emissions, and the trial is expected to help TfL develop plans for greater use of electric buses in central London.

TfL say the buses have a potential running cost saving of around 75% compared to a diesel bus and take around four to five hours to fully charge overnight. The buses should have a range of 250 kilometres.

It says this is sufficient to operate these buses for a full day on these routes without the need to recharge.

In addition to the two buses, six additional electric buses will be introduced into the TfL fleet in early 2014.

Senior Environment and Energy Advisor to the Mayor of London, Matthew Pencharz, said: “Electric buses could help deliver the cleaner and greener bus fleet we need to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality.

“If these prove successful we plan to see more introduced over the next few years to run alongside the hybrid and hydrogen bus technology that is already tackling air pollution and carbon emissions across the capital,” he added.

TfL’s director of buses, Mike Weston, added: “We will be closely monitoring the performance of these vehicles while they are being trialled here in London. Should the performance and reliability of these buses meet London’s challenging requirements, this could be a very important step towards adopting this new clean technology in the capital.”

Meanwhile, TfL says it is past the half-way mark in an extensive retrofit programme of 900 older buses which involves fitting them with an innovative system called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), reducing emissions of harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by up to 88%.

To date, 580 buses have had this equipment fitted with the remainder due to be completed by March 2014.

Leigh Stringer

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