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Electric double decker bus to be trialled in London

A purpose-built pure electric double decker bus will hit the streets of London in October, the Mayor of London announced today.

Passengers on route 16, between Norwood and South Croydon, will be part of a new trial to test the latest technology aimed at producing low emission buses. London mayor Boris Johnson, who made the announcement at a Clean Bus Summit at London’s City Hall, said: “The iconic red double decker bus is about to become greener than ever.” He also said that the 312 route will become London’s first pure electric route later this year.

London is one of 24 cities that have pledged to roll out over 40,000 ultra-low emission buses by 2020. Since then it has become pressing to roll out cutting edge vehicles to cut down air pollution. A total of 1,300 hybrid electric buses are roaming around the streets of the capital and 1,400 were retrofitted to reduce their emissions by up to 88 per cent.

London's transport commissioner Sir Peter Hendy said: “The introduction of new electric buses and further developments like induction charging at termini for hybrid bus batteries will significantly improve air quality and provide our passengers with quieter and smoother journeys later this year.”

Purely electric double-deck buses were not always a viable option due to the size of battery packs needed to power it. However, bus manufacturers have been working on ways to make the buses cheaper to buy and operate in bus fleet.

Johnson said: “I could not be more pleased that London will play host to these exciting pure electric double-deck buses, and I’m sure the lucky users of route 16 will embrace it with gusto.”

As part of these trials, Transport for London will be piloting inductive charging technology from October this year as well, which means buses will be able to wirelessly charge their batteries while they wait at bus stands. The technology will be trialled on three extended range diesel electric hybrid buses in east London on route 69 that runs between Canning Town and Walthamstow bus stations. 

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