Transport for London (TfL) and bus operator Go-Ahead London have begun a trial of the city’s first two battery-electric buses. The 12-meter single deck buses were built by Chinese manufacturer BYD Auto Ltd.
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 trial will be used to establish whether the technology can stand up to the rigors of operating in an intense urban environment such as London and will help TfL develop plans for greater use of electric buses in central London in the future.
The manufacturer’s tests demonstrated a potential running cost saving of around 75% compared to a diesel bus.
The buses take around four to five hours to fully charge overnight and should have a range of 250 km (155 miles), which would be sufficient to operate these buses for a full day on these routes without the need to recharge.
In addition to the two buses in this trial, six additional electric buses will be introduced into the TfL fleet in early 2014. Four of the buses were secured with funding from the Department of Transport (DfT) Green Bus Fund with a further two funded from TfL’s technology demonstration budget.
Around 600 hybrid buses now operate on the capital’s roads, including the New Routemasters, with more being introduced in a rolling program. By 2016 there will be more than 1,700 hybrid buses in service on London’s streets representing 20% of the total bus fleet.