Wright Gemini 2 hybrid double-decker bus in the distinctive red and green livery worn by most hybrid vehicles in London
Wright Gemini 2 hybrid double-decker bus in the distinctive red and green livery worn by most hybrid vehicles in London

There are 3,884 hybrid buses, 485 electric buses, and two hydrogen buses operating in London, as of March 2021, out of a total bus fleet of 9,068.[1]

The city has the second-largest electric bus fleet in Europe after Moscow, which has over 600 electric buses operating.[2][3] In 2021, it was announced that all buses in the fleet meet or exceed Euro 6 emission standards, following the phasing out of older buses, the retrofitting of diesel vehicles and the introduction of new hybrid & electric buses.[4] The entire bus fleet will be zero emission by 2037, although Transport for London have stated that with additional funding, this could be achieved by 2030.[4][5]

Background

In 2006, transport was responsible for around 20% of London's CO2 emissions; with buses making up 5% of the transport total. The city set a target of a 20% reduction in emissions by the year 2020. Converting London's entire bus fleet to hybrid vehicles would reduce CO2 emissions by around 200,000 tonnes per year.[6]

Hybrid electric buses use a combination of an electric battery pack and a diesel engine to provide power, and produce around 40% less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than traditional diesel engined buses. Energy generated during braking is used to charge the batteries of hybrid vehicles.[7][8]

Battery electric buses use on-board batteries to power an electric motor that drives the bus. Unlike a hybrid electric bus, there are no local emissions. As with hybrid buses, regenerative braking is used to charge the batteries.[9]

Hydrogen fuel cell buses use the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen to generate electricity that drives the bus with an electric motor. The only emission from the bus is water.[10]

Operational history

Early trials and tests

In January 2004, three hydrogen fuel cell powered buses were introduced on route 25 on a two-year trial.[11] These were transferred to route RV1 in September 2004,[12] and were tested in commercial service on the route at peak times only. They were withdrawn in January 2007.[13]

Route 141 was the first in the world to be operated with a hybrid double-decker. Although the original vehicle has left the route, it is still served by hybrids such as this Wright Gemini 2 integral.
Route 141 was the first in the world to be operated with a hybrid double-decker. Although the original vehicle has left the route, it is still served by hybrids such as this Wright Gemini 2 integral.

The first hybrid buses to enter service in London were six Wright Electrocity single-deckers. These were ordered in March 2005 to operate on route 360.[14] The single decker buses were unveiled by Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone on 7 February 2006, with the intention of starting operation on the following day.[15] Later in 2006 the vehicles were temporarily withdrawn from service when their diesel engines overheated.[6]

A double-deck hybrid vehicle intended for use in London was unveiled in October 2006. The bus, which cost £285,000 and was constructed by Wrightbus, was the first hybrid double-decker in the world, and was painted in red and green to symbolise the environmental benefits.[8] It entered service in February 2007 on route 141.[7]

An ethanol fuelled double-decker bus was operated by Transdev London in 2008 and 2009.[16] In 2010, eight hydrogen buses were introduced on route RV1, with a substantially larger range than the fuel cell buses used in the mid 2000s.[13][17] At the time, this was the largest hydrogen bus fleet in Europe.[18]

Introduction of hybrids

Twenty-five vehicles entered service in December 2008, introduced onto five routes run by four different operators. A further eighteen entered service in July 2009, when six Volvo B5L double-deckers joined the existing vehicles on route 141.[19][20]

Transport for London stated that it intended to have introduced around 300 hybrids into service by 2012. This was achieved in July 2012, when an Alexander Dennis Enviro400 double-decker of Abellio London became the 300th hybrid in use when it entered service on route 211.[21][22] It was originally intended that every bus introduced into service after 2012 would be a hybrid,[6] but this requirement was later dropped.[23]

A trial of inductive charging technology for three modified Alexander Dennis Enviro400H double-deckers was announced in August 2014. The vehicles, on route 69, receive current to charge the traction batteries while at stands at either end of the route. Although it is intended that the units are to operate in "pure electric" mode, a standard diesel engine is also carried.[24]

New Routemaster Programme

The New Routemaster double-decker was specified and constructed to a hybrid design. The first eight vehicles entered service with Arriva London on route 38 in February 2012.[25] By 2018, a total of 1,000 New Routemasters were in service.[1] However, the buses have suffered from problems with their battery systems with some operating solely as diesel vehicles, and in total 200 buses will have power units replaced under warranty.[26]

Introduction of electric buses

In 2015, the world's first Battery electric double-decker bus entered service on route 98.[27] The first routes solely served by battery electric single decker buses were routes 521 and 507 in 2016.[28] The first route solely served by electric double-decker buses was route 43 in 2019.[29]

In 2021, it was announced that all buses in the fleet meet or exceed Euro 6 emission standards, following the phasing out of older buses, the retrofitting of diesel vehicles and the introduction of new hybrid & electric buses.[4] In June 2021, the world's first hydrogen fuel cell double-decker bus entered service on route 7.[30][10]

Retrofitting older buses

Early efforts to improve emissions including replacing older buses such as the AEC Routemaster and fitting particulate filters to exhausts.[31] By December 2005, all buses met Euro 2 emission standards.[31]

In the 2010s, bus operators introduced new hybrid and electric buses, as well as retrofitted older buses to improve fuel economy, reduce air pollution and meet emission standards.[4][32] A three-year £86m project to improve 5,000 buses to Euro 6 emission standards was completed in 2021.[4][33]

A Kinetic energy recovery system using a carbon fibre flywheel, originally developed for the Williams Formula One racing team, has been modified for retrofitting to existing double-decker buses. 500 buses from the Go-Ahead Group will be fitted with this technology from 2014 to 2016, anticipated to improve fuel efficiency by approximately 20%.[34] The team who developed the technology were awarded the Dewar Trophy of the Royal Automobile Club in 2015.[35]

Summary of current operations

There are 3,884 hybrid buses, 485 electric buses, and two hydrogen buses operating in London, as of March 2021, out of a total bus fleet of 9,068.[1] This includes a trial of the world's first electric double decker bus, which started in October 2015.[36]

A variety of models of hybrid vehicle are currently used. These include Alexander Dennis Enviro200H, Wright Electrocity, Optare Tempo and BYD electric bus single-deckers and Volvo B5LH, Wright Gemini 2, Alexander Dennis Enviro400H, New Routemaster and Wright SRM double-deckers.

Future plans

By 2020, Transport for London has committed to the use of electric or hydrogen buses for all 300 single decker buses in Central London, and the use of hybrid buses for all 3,000 double decker buses in the same area.[37] This is part of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone scheme. By Autumn 2016 all-electric IrIzar i2e buses, with planned end-of-life battery management, will be introduced on routes 507 and 521 in central London. These vehicles will operate for fourteen to sixteen hours—six hours drive time in typical traffic conditions—between overnight charges of six hours (excluding the sixteen-hour initial charge to bring the sonick molten salt battery batteries up to their operating temperature of 270˚C).[38] All vehicles on these two routes will then be electrically powered.[39][37]

The number of zero emission buses is due to increase to 700 buses by the end of 2021,[5] and 2,000 zero emission buses to be in service by 2025.[40] The entire fleet will be zero emission by 2037, although Transport for London have stated that with additional funding, this could be achieved by 2030.[4][5]

All future bus routes that will use the Silvertown Tunnel - a new crossing of the River Thames in East London - will be zero emission when the tunnel opens in 2025.[41]

Response

The introduction of low emission vehicles in London has received praise from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), which awarded Transport for London the first ever Low Carbon Champion Award for Buses in July 2010,[42] and an joint award with Wrightbus for the development of the New Routemaster in 2013.[43] On the 10th anniversary of LowCVP in 2013, TfL was awarded a Outstanding Achievement award for their work over the previous ten years - including the congestion charge, low emission zone as well as introduction of hybrid and hydrogen buses.[43]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Bus fleet audit—31 March 2021" (PDF). Transport for London. 31 March 2021.
  2. ^ "В Москве вышел на линию 500-й электробус". Mos.ru (in Russian). 8 October 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  3. ^ "The first electric buses of the Moscow assembly will be launched in May 2021 / News / Moscow City Web Site". Moscow City Web Site. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "London's buses now meet ULEZ emissions standards across the entire city". Transport for London. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Hall, Susan; Khan, Sadiq (18 March 2021). "Clean bus fleet". London Assembly. Retrieved 7 August 2021. The number of zero emission vehicles in the fleet is expected to increase to 700 by the end of 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Milmo, Dan (26 October 2006). "London plans hybrid bus fleet to cut carbon emissions". The Guardian.
  7. ^ a b "Hybrid double-decker bus launched". BBC News. 16 March 2007.
  8. ^ a b Law, Peter (31 October 2006). "First hybrid double decker bus unveiled". This Is Local London.
  9. ^ "UK electric buses boosted by innovative £20m battery deal". the Guardian. 23 June 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  10. ^ a b "England's first double-decker hydrogen buses to launch in London". BBC News. 23 June 2021. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Full steam ahead for new gas bus". BBC News. 14 January 2004. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  12. ^ "RV1 emission-free bus trial "a great success"". London SE1. 15 January 2005. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Hydrogen bus launched on London tourist route". the Guardian. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  14. ^ "First Electrocity order for Wrightbus". Bus & Coach Magazine. 18 March 2005. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011.
  15. ^ ""Cleaner, greener" buses for route 360". London SE1 community site. 7 February 2006.
  16. ^ Wilson, Tony (24 October 2010). "Hybrids in London". Focus Transport. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010.
  17. ^ "RV1 bus route to be converted to hydrogen power". London SE1. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Mayor announces Europe's largest fleet of hydrogen buses for London". Transport for London. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Volvo hybrids launched in London". Bus & Coach Magazine. 9 July 2009. Archived from the original on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  20. ^ "London steps up hybrid trials". Bus & Coach Magazine. 3 December 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2012.
  21. ^ "London takes 300th hybrid bus". Bus & Coach Magazine. 6 July 2012. Archived from the original on 18 January 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  22. ^ "300th hybrid bus introduced to London's fleet, helping to improve air quality". Transport for London. 5 July 2012.
  23. ^ "Hybrid buses". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 15 November 2010.
  24. ^ "New hybrid bus charging technology trial announced". Transport for London. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  25. ^ Booth, Gavin (December 2011). "The real deal: First Borismaster ready for London". Buses (681): 6–7.
  26. ^ "New Routemaster's battery problems mean many run on just diesel". BBC.
  27. ^ "World's First Zero Emission Electric Double Decker | Metroline News". Metroline. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  28. ^ Gillett, Francesca (12 September 2016). "First electric buses in central London 'by end of year' as two routes announced". Evening Standard. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  29. ^ "Route 43 set to be London's first all-electric bus route". Metroline. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  30. ^ "Mayor launches England's first hydrogen double decker buses". London City Hall. 23 June 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  31. ^ a b "Bright first year for London's Fuel Cell buses". Transport for London. 14 January 2005. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  32. ^ "World's largest bus retrofit programme completed". Transport for London. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  33. ^ "Capital's most polluting buses to be upgraded". London City Hall. 28 June 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  34. ^ "UK: GKN in deal to supply KERS flywheel tech on London buses". Just Auto.
  35. ^ "GKN hybrid project lands major accolade". Shropshire Star.
  36. ^ "London Gets World's First Double-Decker Electric Buses, Clean Bus Summit Starts With A Bang". CleanTechnica. 6 July 2015.
  37. ^ a b "More than 50 all-electric buses to enter service in London". Transport for London.
  38. ^ "Irizar i2e". www.irizar.com (in Spanish).
  39. ^ Martínez, Gonzalo García (28 January 2016). "Irizar i2e, premio Vehículo Industrial Ecológico del 2016" (in Spanish).
  40. ^ "Transport for London bus fleet now meet ULEZ standards. 300 e-buses expected in 2021". Sustainable Bus. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  41. ^ "Improvements and Projects - Silvertown Tunnel". Transport for London. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  42. ^ "London Buses wins Low Carbon Champions Award for green buses". Transport for London. 16 July 2010.
  43. ^ a b "TfL scoops two Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Awards". Transport for London. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2021.