National Express, well known for its buses and coaches service, has bought it last diesel vehicle. From now on, they will be electric. Firsts e-buses will enter service in the Midlands this year, and by 2035 they will have shift whole fleet into electric coaches and buses.
Coaches are a little trickier than buses. There are fewer opportunities to charge on longer journeys and there isn’t actually a viable long-distance electric coach on the market yet. National Express will have to develop it, and they are seeking an industry partner to do it. In the meantime, the first electric coach will be trialled next year on the shorter route out to Stansted Airport. If all goes to plan,
“Bus and Coach travel is already one of the greenest ways to get around, with each bus removing up to 75 cars from the road”, says the CEO Dean Finch.
“However we understand the imperative to go much further, so we are today setting out an ambition to be the first zero-emission transport group in the UK. Our decision to never again buy a diesel bus in the UK coupled with our support in leading the zero-emission transition in coach will place our UK operations at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change and poor air quality. We simply believe this is the right thing to do for our customers, the communities we serve and our stakeholders.”
Where National Express goes, others will follow
Dean Finch is entirely correct on the green credentials of bus travel. The more people choose to travel by coach the better, and electric coaches might help to make it a more desirable form of transport.
Where National Express goes, others will hopefully follow, and it ties in with recent government announcements about bus travel too. After years of neglect, bus travel seems to be valued again. Prime Minister Boris Johnson as a former mayor of London understands buses. London is a global success story for its bus transport. Therefore, if its model is exported to other areas it would be possible to put a dent in those stubbornly unyielding transport emissions.
E-Buses in Manchester
In Manchester, Stagecoach has unveiled a £16.5m investment to updated its fleet to electric. It set 32 new buses to run on the routes 111 and 32.
Each double-decker bus takes more than 70 cars off the road and can travel 190 miles on a single charge. Therefore, it will save 2,208 tonnes of carbon a year compared to the existing fleet.
Managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, Elisabeth Tasker, said: “The introduction of the new electric double-decker buses is a significant milestone in the history of transport in Greater Manchester. It represents one of the biggest single investments in electric buses anywhere in Europe”.
“This significant investment will deliver major benefits for our customers, the region and other road users. It will deliver greener transport on some of Manchester’s busiest roads”.
Shift into electric coaches and buses besides other plans, such as the biggest bike network outside London, will improve the air quality in Greater Manchester. Pollutions in the air contribute to more than 1,000 premature deads ion the region.
Article first published at The Earthbound Report by Jeremy Williams on 13/03/2020