• Buses deliver significant air quality benefits due to zero tail pipe emissions at point of use
• Technology should deliver significant maintenance and running cost savings compared to conventional diesel single deck buses
Transport for London (TfL), Arriva and UK bus manufacture Optare today (Wednesday 10 December) introduced the latest electric buses to the capital’s fleet.
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.