National Express WM is going electric
National Express West Midlands has stated that it plans to never to buy another diesel bus.
Since 2015, National Express have been buying buses with the cleanest diesel engine available (EuroVI) and have recently ended this in favour of buying zero-emission vehicles. 19 fully electric double-deckers started going out in service on Sunday 5th July 2020 on routes between Birmingham and Solihull. 10 more electrics are arriving at their Coventry depot, where they will go out in service this autumn. They have publicly pledged that their entire bus fleet will be zero-emission by 2030.
Tom Stables, Managing Director of National Express UK, said: “Buses are already one of the cleanest ways to travel. For four years, we’ve been working as part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance to tackle climate change and improve air quality. We’ve retrofitted nearly a thousand older buses with new exhaust systems, and since 2015, we’ve bought only the cleanest diesels on the market.”
“And now we’ve gone all out with these beautiful buses which are fully electric – even the heaters run off the battery. They cost more than a Rolls Royce Phantom, and as well as being great for the environment, they come with all the top-spec kit our customers expect from a Platinum bus – extra space, USB chargers and free wi-fi.
Training and performance
They have also stated that bus drivers have to be specially trained to drive electric buses. The vehicles behave completely differently to combustion engine-driven buses, and drivers have to drive to preserve the charge for as long as possible and extend the range. Engineers too have been trained in a whole new kind of maintenance.
Furthermore, a charging station for each bus and a system so engineers can monitor the buses’ performance from screens up in the depot or their laptops. The buses charge up in four hours and can run for 190 kilometres before needing another charge.
National Express West Midlands was awarded £3 million by the government in 2016 to help fund the extra cost of an electric bus and the necessary equipment, and the bus company has invested £11 million in the project.
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