Two revolutionary virtual electric buses have been launched in Bristol.
First West of England are introducing the state-of-the-art
low emission buses in partnership with Department for Transport, Bristol
City Council and University of the West of England (UWE).
The buses use Geo-Fencing GPS technology to run on pure
electric mode in areas of low air quality, producing zero emissions. The
small diesel engine only runs in areas of better air quality and simply
charges the electric engine. This technology is revolutionary, there
are only five in the UK, two in Bristol and three in London on a trial
basis. Engineers and scientists will examine how the bus performs and
crucially their environmental impact.
These smooth and quiet buses will turn heads in their striking blue colour scheme and ‘electricity’ branding.
The buses also have a unique way of charging. Once they
reach UWE’s Frenchay Campus (the terminus of their route) a special
plate in the ground will charge the buses wirelessly.
James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England
said: “Bristol is the perfect place to trial technology like this.
During the Green Capital year in 2015 we trialled a Bio-Methane powered
‘poo bus’ so it is great that we now have another exciting trial.”
“These buses will make a massive impact to air quality as they spend a
huge part of the day running on pure electric mode (almost like a tram
without rails), meaning that in areas (such as the City Centre) where
pollution is a problem, these buses will quite literally be a breath of
The buses will feature on Service 72 which runs from City
Centre to UWE’s Frenchay Campus via Whiteladies Road & Gloucester
Road. The bus will run in full electric mode throughout the City Centre,
the diesel engine automatically turns on to recharge the batteries at
the start of Whiteladies Road where the air quality improves. Once the
buses reach the more polluted Gloucester Road they will again revert to
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol said: “I am delighted
that we have been able to launch this cutting edge technology in
Bristol, as the first city outside of London to do so.
“This adds to Bristol’s growing reputation as a laboratory
for change and an environmental innovator. These clean tech vehicles
will help to reduce pollution and improve the health of the city, and
are part of the continuing impact of our highly successful year as
European Green Capital 2015.”
“My goal is for Bristol to be one of the healthiest cities in the world and that has to start with us breathing clean air.”
“I am confident this trial of new technology will pave the
way for the future of electric buses in Bristol and beyond, adding to
the many new sustainable transport initiatives that are currently taking
place across the city.”
The buses are expected to enter service at the end of January