Urban Transport

World's first zero-emission double-decker bus to arrive in London this year

World's first zero-emission do...
In the long run, the new electric double-decker buses will have a significant impact on the environment
In the long run, the new electric double-decker buses will have a significant impact on the environment
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In the long run, the new electric double-decker buses will have a significant impact on the environment
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In the long run, the new electric double-decker buses will have a significant impact on the environment
The new all-electric buses were produced in conjunction with BYD
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The new all-electric buses were produced in conjunction with BYD

London's public transport network is about to get a lot greener, with Mayor Boris Johnson announcing that the world's first purpose-built pure electric double-decker bus will hit the city's streets later this year. The announcement was made at the Clean Bus Summit, where 24 cities around the world committed to putting ultra-low emission buses on the road.

Public transport in the UK's biggest city has been inching toward a greener future for years now, announcing its first hybrid buses back in 2009. There are now more than 1,300 of those on the streets of the capital, and it's time for the next big step.

The new all-electric buses were produced in conjunction with BYD, which worked on the tricky problem of fitting enough batteries into the zero emissions vehicles to provide enough power.

There's no mention of exactly how many all-electric buses are heading for London, but the first is due to arrive in October, which will enter service on route 16 in October, running between Victoria Station and Cricklewood.

It's not just London that's revising its public transport infrastructure for the better. The move forms part of a wider effort, with 24 cities around the world planning to put 40,000 ultra-low emission buses on the road by 2020.

Source: Mayor of London

9 comments
Buellrider
This is good news. Wouldn't that make a great looking motor home. Sure, it wouldn't go far enough on a charge but someday maybe it could. Sleep up top and everything else below. BYD is doing good things. Maybe China needs to outlaw internal combustion engines and lead the world in electric vehicles. Then maybe the children of Beijing could someday see the stars at night and during the day it wouldn't look like some end of the world dystopian city.
Freyr Gunnar
Price-wise, how does it compare to a regular diesel bus? And how does it compare to trolleybuses?
Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret
@Buellrider What you suggest for China would not work out with the current energy mix, which consists mainly of coal-fired power plants to generate electricity. More electric vehicles on the road to replace ICE would just lead to even more coal-fired power plants being built due to the extra demand. It would be replacing the pollution by burning petrol with that of coal, which is arguably worse (with the amount of mercury that would be emitted). China would need to install an unprecedented amount of kW installed capacity for solar/wind/nuclear power to improve the air in Beijing. Coal is cheap and more abundant compared to natural gas and oil, so the initial high capital costs of building a coal-fired power plants mean that the Chinese investors would like to see more coal being burned. An expanding economy will see its energy consumption rise in similar fashion. The energy appetite of China is primarily met by building more coal-fired power plants. London will definitely benefit from these buses as the air quality will go up. That doesn't mean the pollution of the buses will disappear however. A substantial fraction of UK electricity is met by burning natural gas, which is a lot cleaner than coal. The extra electricity consumed by these new buses will also come from gas-fired power plants. The picture is a lot better in the UK than in China, though.
Mr T
Every time I see an article like this, I think about all the missed opportunities here in Oz. With the exit of the big car makers here in a year or two, their factories could be repurposed to make EVs of all kinds, but you can bet that won't happen. Australia is starting to slip further and further behind the rest of the world, but with religious fundamentalist climate deniers running the country, it's to be expected.
Skywoolf
Hardly the first. All electric double decker buses were common in London over 50 years ago. They took power from overhead cables.
Nik
So now we have an electric bus, that has to carry a ton or more of batteries where ever it goes, instead of running from overhead wires, as Trolley Buses used to do., which is hardly fuel efficient. Added to the cost of the bus, is the cost of manufacturing the batteries, and the necessary charging equipment to convert AC to DC in order to charge them, and the cost of replacing the batteries when they inevitably wear out. Another negative factor is the 'down time' during charging, when the bus will be unusable. Its amazing how 'progress' has gone backwards. All this is to supposedly to reduce carbon emissions?
windykites
I am old enough to remember trolleybuses in London and the suburbs. The big advantage over trams, was that no track was required. The vehicles had rubber tyres, and the electricity was picked up from long poles on the top of the vehicle, which allowed overtaking of cars in front if necessary. The cost of installing roadside pylons to hold the overhead power cables, is absolutely minimal compared with the cost of these electric buses. I will investigate but it wouldn't surprise me if these buses are made in China, and must cost an absolute fortune. I wonder how many will actually be purchased, because there are thousands of buses in London.
Stephen N Russell
Need this bus for LA CA So CA , huge demand for
unklmurray
I agree with Buelrider'It would make a real nice Rainbow Gathering/Dead Tour bus....Motor home.....I want one....It would probably be cheaper to weld 2 40ft buses together than 2 pay shipping+Lux+Tax just to get one of those fine looking buses....then we could turn the bottom N2 a Harley / Buel shop!! I've never driven a Doubledecker,......nor have I ever rode a Buel...is it like riding a Mule?