159 electric buses for Oxford – from today 

First of new battery-powered buses enters service today as part of £82.5m project that includes new electric charging hubs at two key bus depots. 

The historic ‘City of Dreaming Spires’ is blazing a trail into the future with an ambitious new electric bus service. The first of the new fleet of 159 electric buses took to the streets today. 

Bus in Oxford, photo by Yousef AlSudais

Bus in Oxford, photo by Yousef AlSudais

Oxford already has other electric buses in service. In November, the Oxford Bus Company introduced the BROOKESbus fleet of 21 electric buses to serve Oxford Brookes University. Oxford’s City Sightseeing buses are also electric. 

The incoming fleet of 159 new electric buses is a huge advance on this – and has come at some cost. As the Oxford Mail reports, Oxfordshire Country Council was awarded £32.8m from the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) fund and provided a further £6m directly. The bus operators involved have invested some £43.7m in the project. 

That investment has been encouraged by a commitment from the county council to reduce bus journey times in the city by at least 10%. Congestion is being tackled in a number of ways, including plans for six ‘bus gates’ that will filter traffic. 

The Oxford Bus Company (part of the Go-Ahead Group) will deliver 104 of the new electric buses – Go-Ahead’s largest fleet of zero-emission buses outside London – manufactured by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland. Stagecoach will provide the remaining 55 buses, manufactured by Alexander Dennis in Scotland.  

Electrification specialist Zenobē has been involved in installing 104 chargepoints at the Oxford Bus Company’s  depot. Another large charging hub has been installed at the Stagecoach facility. Powered by EDF Energy, the chargepoints provide enough power for each bus to drive up to 320 km or 200 miles per day. 

Luke Marion, Managing Director of the Oxford Bus Company, says: ‘This is a historic moment in our journey towards transforming our city services to electric. Our first tranche of electric buses is now in service and are already starting to improve air quality and make bus travel an even more attractive option for people to travel around Oxford.’ 

Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director of Stagecoach West, adds: ‘As a business we are fully committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035 so the introduction of these electric vehicles onto the roads today is a big step towards this vital goal.’ 

In related news:

New lithium-metal battery recharged in minutes

Pothole robot in Hertfordshire 

EVs to smooth out demand peaks in grid 


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