Wirelessly charged hybrid buses roll into London

Specially designed electric buses will be able to wirelessly charge their batteries while they wait at bus stands under new trials announced today (27 August) by Transport for London (TfL).

The new inductive charging technology will be trialled on up to four extended range diesel electric hybrid buses in east London from next year.

TfL’s director of buses Mike Weston said: “We are continuing our assessment of new technology in the capital that can deliver genuine environmental benefits. This trial of extended range diesel electric hybrid buses, utilising the latest inductive charging technology, could be a step closer to getting even cleaner double deck buses on London’s streets.

“We will be closely monitoring the results of the trials, which may help us adopt this new cleaner technology more widely in London.”

The specially built hybrid double-deck buses will operate on route 69, between Canning Town and Walthamstow bus stations. The charging technology will allow the buses to top up their batteries without the need to be physically plugged in, offering a more convenient option for use on busy London bus routes. The buses do have a diesel engine that can be used when the battery power on the bus is depleted, but it is anticipated this will only be a small amount of the time.

Low Emission Zone

Passengers will notice that these extended range diesel electric hybrid buses offer much lower noise and vibration levels compared to conventional diesel vehicles.

The introduction of this technology will complement the existing trial of six pure electric single deck buses, which represent the first step of Boris Johnson’s plan for all single-deck buses in central London to be zero emission at tailpipe, as part of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, from 2020.

Around 800 hybrid buses now operate on the capital’s roads, including the New Routemasters, with more being introduced in a rolling programme. By 2016 there will be more than 1,700 hybrid buses in service on London’s streets representing 20% of the total bus fleet.

Last month, London was criticised for high levels of traffic pollution, with harmful nitrogen dioxide levels expected to significantly exceeded EU limits until 2030. Oxford Street was singled out for having some of the worst annual average levels of NO2 pollution in the world – findings which Johnson later claimed were ‘B*ll*cks: ludicrous urban myth’ on Twitter. 

And earlier today, edie reported that London-based businesses will be able to expand their use of cleaner vans and light lorries throughout the capital under new plans to identify potential locations for electric vehicle infrastructure. 

Luke Nicholls

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie