London's famed red buses are set to receive a little dash of green, thanks to five new all-electric additions to the fleet. After being formally received at a ceremony last week, the new local emissions-free vehicles will now be rolled out along service routes where pollution is of particular concern.
Developed by Chinese car and rechargeable battery maker BYD, the air conditioned double-decker buses measure 10.2 m (33.46 ft) long and can each carry 81 passengers; 54 seated and 27 standing. The buses are powered by 345 kWh iron phosphate batteries and have a range of 190 mi (305 km).
Charging equipment will be installed at service operator Metroline's Willesden Bus Garage in north London, where the buses will be recharged in four hours overnight. BYD says the buses are capable of carrying out most daily duty cycles.
The city first announced this shift toward greener public transportation in July last year at the Clean Bus Summit. This followed the introduction of its first hybrid buses in 2009, of which there are more than 1,300 in operation. The five new buses will enter service on Route 98, chosen due to its reputation as a pollution hotspot in London.
"It's a very exciting moment that this is happening here," says Matthew Pencharz, London's Deputy Mayor of Environment and Energy. "The running costs are much lower and some of the maintenance and operations costs are much lower on the buses. Also, these [buses] are zero-emission, zero-tailpipe-pollution and that is a huge benefit for Londoners."