Four British-built pure electric buses went into service in London this week. The MetroCity single-deck buses were manufactured by Optare, part of the Hinduja Group, based in North Yorkshire, and will be operated on a trial basis on route H98 between Hayes and Hounslow.
Manufacturer’s tests demonstrated that, while the initial cost of these vehicles was more than legacy diesel buses, the significantly lower running and maintenance costs should offset this within the typical lifetime of the vehicle.
The buses take around five hours to fully charge overnight using the 15.2 kW on‐board charger, or two hours using 50 kW off-board fast charge technology. They have a range of up to 100 miles. Each is fitted with a small diesel-fueled heater for the winter months, which is currently more efficient than using battery capacity for heating.
The introduction of the Optare buses is the first step of the Mayor’s plan for all single-deck buses in central London to be zero-emission by 2020. The first two electric buses in London have been operating on routes 507 and 521 since last December, and two more are to enter service later this year. London also boasts a couple of hydrogen-fueled buses, as well as Europe’s largest hybrid bus fleet – some 800 hybrid buses, with 900 more to be introduced by 2016.
Mike Weston, Transport for London’s Director of Buses, said, “The introduction of these new pure electric vehicles is part of our continuing assessment of the technology, to ensure it can handle the capital’s challenging operational environment. We will be closely monitoring the results of the trials, which may help us adopt this new clean technology more widely in London.”
Gopichand Hinduja, Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Group, said, “Optare’s MetroCity electric vehicle is a prime example of the UK’s manufacturing excellence, technology and innovation coming together to provide a zero-emissions solution to improve air quality in London. Optare is crucial to Hinduja Group’s flagship company Ashok Leyland’s future global strategy. It is the hub for the company’s expansion in Europe and worldwide.”