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Sunday, 14 December 2014

More Electric Buses for London



Earlier this week, TFL issued a press release about the roll out of the new single deck electric buses.

The two Optare MetroCity buses are now in service on route 312, which is operated by Arriva, between South Croydon and Norwood Junction. The bus route is used by around 4,700 passengers a day. Passengers travelling on these buses will benefit from much lower noise and vibration levels compared to regular buses with diesel engines.

These new electric buses are the latest addition to Europe's greenest bus fleet and will increase TfL's experience and understanding of this relatively new technology. The buses were built by UK bus manufacturer Optare, which is part of the Hinduja Group, based in Sherburn in Elmet, North Yorkshire. They have zero tail pipe emissions at point of use, resulting in lower overall carbon emissions.


Mike Weston, TfL's Director of Buses, said: `We now have a total of eight pure electric buses in the capital's fleet which will help increase our experience and understanding of this technology. London has always been at the forefront of adopting and trialling new green technology and these buses are a welcome addition to the fleet.`

Enrico Vassallo, CEO at Optare, said, `We are delighted to be supplying a further two fully electric buses for the bus passengers of London. We hope that the success of these vehicles in London and those already in service in London, York, Manchester and Nottingham will lead to more Optare electric buses in the capital helping to contribute to cleaner air for all.'

Peter Batty, Arriva London Commercial Director said: `Electric buses are at the cutting edge of transport technology to improve air quality and everyone involved with route 312 at our garage in South Croydon is looking forward to operating the buses in what is the Year of the Bus.'

Councillor Kathy Bee, Croydon's cabinet member for environment and transport, said: `Croydon is a borough that aspires to be clean and green, so it is great news that we are to get our first electric buses. We are London's regeneration borough, and equally we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce carbon emissions and improve the air quality. I'm sure passengers on the route 312 will join me in welcoming the fact that their journeys will now be more environmentally-friendly.'

The use of these electric buses will establish whether the technology can stand up to the rigours of operating in an intense urban environment such as London. The manufacturer's tests demonstrate that while the initial capital cost of these vehicles is more than that of standard diesel, the significantly lower running and maintenance costs would offset this within the typical lifetime of the vehicle.

The buses take around five hours to fully charge overnight, or two hours using fast charge technology, and have a range of up to 100 miles depending on operating conditions

With the consultation of the Ultra Low Emission Zone for Central London, it would mean that only hybrid double deck buses would be allowed in the ULEZ and that all Single Decker buses would be zero emission at the point of use, like the Hydrogen buses which are currently operating on route RV1 (Covent Garden to Tower Gateway).

Also, there are four electric buses operating on route H98 which use the same bus type as route 312 has. The two electric buses manufactured by BYD, from China, operate on route 507/521.
By the Summer of 2015, TFL will be introducing the AlexanderDennis Enviro400 Virtual Electric on to Route 69, which is operated by Stagecoach London, so it will be the world’s first electric double deck bus to enter in to London Bus service.

I have made a quick fleet list table so you can track the electric buses on London Vehicle Finder.

Operator
Fleet Number
Registration
Manufacture
Route
Go Ahead London
EB1
LC63CYA
BYD
507/521
Go Ahead London
EB2
LC63CXY
BYD
507/521
London United
OCE1
LJ14SZO
Optare
H98
London United
OCE2
LJ14SZP
Optare
H98
London United
OCE3
LJ14SZR
Optare
H98
London United
OCE4
LJ14SZT
Optare
H98
Arriva London
EMC1
LK64DWG
Optare
312
Arriva London
EMC2
LK64DWJ
Optare
312

If you want to see their timetable of the day for example then type in “ETA AL EMC1” and press ‘go’ on the London Vehicle Finder. This is also handy for 'bus spotters' who wish to know how long they have to wait until the electric bus arrives.

The new electric buses lack their rightly deserved publicity due to TFL promoting the hybrid New Routemaster bus. They are doing this because people want to see a new ‘icon’ on London's streets as a replacement for the original AEC Routemaster. People think the ‘New Routemaster’ is an open platform conductor bus, but in reality it’s not, it’s a basic double decker bus with three doors and two staircases. Electric buses are special because they do not have engines and they are fully operated by battery power.  In the 21st Century it's only right that we move away from noisy, air polluting diesel engines to cleaner battery powered electric ones. The fact that battery powered vehicles are quieter will also improve the ride for passengers in terms of noise reduction and added smoothness on their journey.

If you think TFL and its subsidiary London Buses should roll out more electric buses at the expense of the New Routemasters then please express your opinion in the comment section below. Let us know what you think about the future of London's Bus fleet.


Also, don't forget to 'Follow' me on Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest which is: @CLondoner92

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