Monday, August 5, 2013

New electric buses to be rolled out in Edinburgh

Lothian Buses has just ­finished a fortnight’s trial of revolutionary fully electric 31-seaters potentially capable of travelling between 70 and 100 miles on a single charge.
And the extensive test run of the Optare Solo has been hailed as a major success, with bosses already planning new tests with a larger model of the electric bus – this time with real passengers on board.
The tests were designed to find out the vehicle’s range, recharging cost, smoothness and noise levels ahead of plans to put them into service.
The bus, which has been produced by a Yorkshire firm, has no engine and can be charged using both standard and rapid recharging sockets, in the same way as an electric car.
There were fears about the vehicles having a limited range, with most of Lothian Buses’ fleet needing to travel more than 70 miles a day.
But Lothian Buses ­environmental manager Dr Steve Johnson said: “I think that it is very likely that full electric buses will enter service with Lothian in the future.
“At the moment, the ­distance range of full electric buses is expanding all the time, ­charging-point installation is proceeding apace, and diesel-electric hybrid buses are having their ‘electric only’ range significantly extended.
“We already operate 25 ­diesel-electric hybrids, the last ten of which can operate for short distances on electric only.
“To cut our contribution to air and noise pollution in the city electric vehicles seem like an obvious answer, which if coupled with renewable energy recharging, will cut our carbon footprint significantly too.”