Brighton and Hove Buses is testing a new electric bus in its 'race towards an emissions-free future'.
The Euro 6 micro hybrid bus, made by Northern Irish company Wrightbus and costing about £380,000, will be taken through its paces over the next month on Route 5, which covers Hangleton, Hove, the city centre, Hollingbury, the universities and Patcham. Thirty buses currently cover this route.
Martin Harris, Brighton and Hove Buses’ managing director said the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) represented another leap towards slashing air and noise pollution and boosting fuel efficiency. The company will apply to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles for funding, if tests are successful.
Mr Harris said: “A third of our fleet is already nearly emissions free and nearly 90 per cent of the fleet is low emission zone (LEZ) standard or above. The HEV bus is perfect for a specific location where very localised air quality improvement is being targeted. It’s an exciting time to be running buses.”
Brighton and Hove Buses’ head of engineering Neil Miles said route 5 was chosen as it was popular and went down North Street, a designated low emission zone.
He said the electric buses's major benefit was that it is possible to specify where the bus should run on electric mode only – unlike former hybrids – a practice called ‘geo fencing’. The bus switches to engine mode after 1.5 to 3km until the battery power regenerates.
Mr Miles said: “For me it’s an absolute no-brainer. It’s the next logical step on the route towards zero emissions. I think it will make a massive difference. I really do.”
Brighton and Hove Buses will test the bus to ensure it can travel in electric mode for the entire length of North Street, something Mr Miles is confident will be easily achieved.
Engineers will also test the bus for fuel efficiency. Neil said the electric bus was likely to be twice as fuel efficient as a bendy bus.