Switching diesel buses to electric

Buses are a particularly important part of the UK’s travel network, carrying more passengers and accounting for more journeys than any other form of public transport. Yet currently only 6% of UK buses are low emission, compared to 18% of China’s much larger bus fleet.


Due to austerity, Nottingham Council has had to reduce its public transport budgets by £4m per year. Purchasing electric buses was seen as a way to make savings whilst improving air quality and reducing noise pollution.

For the first stage of the project 45 small electric buses (31 seats 12 standing) were bought to replace diesel buses of a similar size. These have a range of around 70 miles and are charged during the driver lunchtime break as well as overnight trickle charging. These have saved the council £300,000 per year on fuel and have reduced maintenance costs around 40%.

Reductions in carbon emissions have been at least 1050 tonnes: the equivalent of 27,000 trees grown from seedling over 10 years. There’s also significant reductions in other air pollutants such as NOx (15 tonnes) and PM10 (83kg) when compared with equivalent Euro 5 diesel buses.

The second stage of the project focused on the two main park and ride services to the city centre. This required larger buses that are able to operate for the full daily timetable of up to 18 hours a day. Charging takes place over a 5 hour period at night, utilising low cost electricity tariffs. Operational savings are £200k per year compared with the previous diesel buses.

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