Stagecoach launches Britain’s biggest investment in green electric-hybrid bus technology

Posted: 15 July 2010 | Stagecoach Group | 1 comment

Stagecoach today launched Britain’s biggest single investment in green hybrid bus technology…

Stagecoach today launched Britain's biggest single investment in green hybrid bus technology...

Stagecoach today launched Britain’s biggest single investment in green hybrid bus technology.

The first of a £16m investment in 56 state-of-the-art buses for the UK, with 30% less carbon emissions than standard vehicles, went into service in Oxford.

Market-leading British bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis and BAE Systems have provided the technology behind the new low carbon buses, which feature an innovative regenerative braking system.

A fleet of 26 hybrid vehicles will run on some of the busiest city centre routes in Oxford. The historic university city has one of the highest levels of bus use in the UK, with around 50% of all local journeys made by bus.

Stagecoach’s major bus network in Manchester will also benefit from 30 new electric-hybrid vehicles from September.

The new vehicles are being part-funded by a £5million support package from the Department for Transport’s Green Bus Fund.

Brian Souter, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, said: “This is Britain’s biggest single investment in green hybrid bus technology. The new buses have better fuel consumption, as well as significantly lower carbon emissions.

“Greener, smarter bus travel is a low-cost, low-carbon solution to the challenge of climate change. New technology and pro-bus policies are crucial if we are to get people to switch from the car to public transport.”

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “Today’s announcement sends a very positive message to the industry that newer and greener technology will be at the forefront of our transport system of the future.

“Stagecoach is setting a very positive example when it comes to delivering low carbon transport technology and it is investment on this level that will help us to deliver a more sustainable and environmentally friendly transport system.

“We hope other operators and local authorities will follow suit by taking advantage of the £15 million additional funding for green buses in England I announced just last week.”

The new Enviro400H buses were built at Alexander Dennis’s manufacturing plants in Falkirk, Scotland, which employs around 900 people, and Guildford, England.

Colin Robertson, Chief Executive, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), said: “We have now had electric-hybrids on trial in the UK for 20 months and they have consistently recorded fuel and CO2 reductions of around 35%. They have also demonstrated their reliability by being available for service virtually 100% of the time.

“We are now well beyond the pioneering stage with electric-hybrids and can lead the world with a transport solution that tackles clean air issues head-on. As a business ADL will continue to invest in further hybrid development programmes and to bring innovative, fuel-saving, low carbon buses to market. The next of these will be a three-door, flat floor, 18-tonne single deck targeted at mainland Europe. It will be launched later this year.”

The pioneering hybrid technology, specifically designed for buses, has now built up more than 150 million miles in commercial service. The Enviro400H’s regenerative braking system means the buses can run in service without the lithium ion batteries requiring mains recharging.

Rob Lindsay, Director, BAE Systems – Vehicle Systems, said: “BAE Systems are delighted to see our class-leading HybriDrive® technology entering service with one of the UK’s premier public transport operators.

“This latest chapter in our successful partnership with Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) clearly demonstrates that the hybrid has arrived in the UK market, and it will undoubtedly prove to be a key enabler for the bus industry as it works to meet the Government’s CO2 and emissions targets.”

The new buses for Oxford are part of a package of improvements in the city coming later in the year under a partnership between Stagecoach, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford Bus Company.

It includes a new multi-operator integrated smartcard ticketing system, co-ordinated high frequency services on four of the city’s main corridors, more seats, better information and faster boarding for bus passengers, as well as safer, cleaner and less congested streets around Oxford.

Meanwhile, Stagecoach Group is working with major public transport groups in the UK on a major campaign to encourage people to make less use of cars and switch to sustainable bus and coach travel instead. The Greener Journeys campaign is targeting one billion fewer car journeys over the next three years. The target could be achieved by switching one in 25 journeys by car to bus and coach, delivering a huge reduction in carbon emissions.

In April, Stagecoach Group launched a new sustainability strategy and £11million investment programme to reduce further the carbon emissions from its transport operations in the UK and North America. The Group is targeting an overall reduction of 8% in buildings CO2e emissions and a cut of 3% in annual fleet transport CO2e emissions.

Earlier this year, Stagecoach Group was awarded the prestigious Carbon Trust Standard for its British bus and rail operations. It is the first Scottish-based transport group – and one of only two listed UK public transport operators – to have achieved the stretching carbon reduction benchmark.