4th Year Post - London's Electric Buses

As WLTMTB enters its fourth year of existence, we obviously have a focus thingy. However, as well as we have new technologies entering the bus world in London, we also have a new member (yay), but more into the latter at the other end of the post.

Electric buses are a way to make TfL look like they are doing something with the environment. With a green leaf livery like the one that used to be applied to hybrid buses when they were a new thing, they are trying to emphasise that they do not emit emissions. Transport for London are actually fairly late in the game, as even Travel de Courcey at Coventry has had electric buses earlier than TfL (2012)! At the vehicle, they don't, but other things like the batteries, the importing of buses and parts all still cost a lot in terms of emissions. Also, electricity is mainly not from renewable sources in the UK, so really, this just means the emissions are being made elsewhere, by coal power plants, or producing dangerous waste with spent nuclear fuel rods and contaminated water (yes, A Level Physics there). Electric buses aren't exactly harmless to the environment. But better than diesel buses? Probably.

Transport for London has seemed to have an interesting relationship with the Chinese. A very good one. Especially where, for some apparent reasons, you can build your dreams. That's where the first electric buses came from. Not Optare, who already had electric buses around before BYD.

London General EB1 on Route 507, Victoria
London General EB1 on Route 507, Victoria (CC Aubrey)

Still in service are the first electric buses for London, arrived from being shipped from China with incorrect LED displays and wear from the long journey. After a sprucing up, the buses were sent out on limited service on the 507 in December 2013, this photo being on the first day, on the first time it had gone out on that day.

London General EB2, Waterloo Depot
London General EB2, Waterloo Depot (CC Aubrey)

Two buses were initially ordered, coded EB1 and EB2. They are both BYD ebuses, marketed as the BYD K9 in China.

Interior of London General EB1 on Route 507, Victoria
Interior of London General EB1 on Route 507, Victoria (CC Aubrey)

The buses have the batteries in the saloon as seen, a design feature not seen on the rest of the electric bus types seen in this post. These have run on the 507 and 521 for a few years now, with their odd door alarm sounds and poorly translated safety signs.

The next electric bus, introduced in June 2014 just turns out to be the most successful example in London:

London United OCE1 on Route H98, Hounslow Garage
London United OCE1 on Route H98, Hounslow Garage (CC Aubrey)

London United gained 4 new Optare Metrocity Electric Buses, presumably gained from the Government's Green Bus Fund. Post shown here.

Interior of London United OCE2 on Route H98, Hounslow
Interior of London United OCE2 on Route H98, Hounslow (CC Aubrey)

The buses actually look inside like a normal Optare bus, not with two massive battery packs either side of an aisle. Also, it's built in Britain, so yay?!

Evening Electrics
London United OCE4 on Route H98, Hounslow West (© Aubrey)

The buses have since continued service on the H98, and are all seeming to work well on the fairly busy H98 route.

This led to two more of these being introduced on the 312 route between South Croydon and Norwood Junction:

Arriva London EMC1 on Route 312, Norwood Junction
Arriva London EMC1 on Route 312, Norwood Junction (CC Aubrey)

Coded EMC1 and EMC2 (no, just EMC2), these two buses run on the 312 as the older two Metrocitys on the route. Route 312 was later awarded as a fully electric bus route contract, making it the first ever London bus route to be allocated electric buses fully.

Arriva London EMC7 on Route 312, East Croydon (© Aubrey)

EMC3-8 arrived for the 312 later on in 2015, and except for many, many strays of diesel buses at times, the 312 has had these buses running on the route.

Another route to temporarily gain a Metrocity during December 2015 was the very busy Route 108, which was only used for peak journeys only:

The Electric Metrocity
London Central OE1 on Route 108, Stratford (© Aubrey)

This bus ran for a few journeys each morning and night on weekdays, and would obviously be busy. It's the 108!

London Central OE1 on Route 108, Stratford
London Central OE1 on Route 108, Stratford (© Aubrey)

This bus was later moved to Arriva to join its fellow Metrocities on the 312. But it is still called OE1, with paper fleet number 01 on the windscreen.

Meanwhile, also during 2015, Irizar released their i2e to London's 507 and 521:

Green Leaf-Arrow
London General EI1 on Route 507, Lambeth Bridge (© Aubrey)

The bus, under my (Aubrey's) opinion, seems to just as good as the BYDs, albeit with very slow rear doors. The two (EI1/EI2) are in service on the 507/521, also based at Waterloo Garage (RA).

Irizar i2e on the Red-ish Arrow
London General EI1 on Route 507, Waterloo (© Aubrey)

However it wasn't Irizar that got the contract for the Citaro replacement on the 507/521. It was BYD, with their partnership with Alexander Dennis bringing a BYD ebus/ADL Enviro 200. Now that'll be interesting.

Notably, every single electric bus has this so far:

Wow... You are electrifying! ;)
(CC Aubrey)

Yeah, that's one way to put that point across... Why are we humanising buses now, TfL?!

Something that hasn't been covered are the double deckers, as they don't exist in service yet! The ADL "Virtual Electrics" on the 69 do not count as electric buses, as they are E400Hs, hence they are hybrids, albeit using more electric than diesel power. However, the double decker BYD electric bus is fully electric, built for Metroline, and still not in service. It is earmarked for Willesden Garage. Photos of BYD1472 has been circulating the internet, and it is part of a batch of 5 presumed to be for the 98 at that garage. They are still, possibly, at Willesden Garage or Perivale CELF.

And another thing that's new, albeit new in a very interesting way - we have a new member, and a small bit from Anthony!

Uhhh... I think I’m lost... anyway. Hello! I'm Anthony Gumm (A.K.A King of Transport (Youtube) & Your Average Transport Enthusiast (Flickr). I cover the majority of London, at least.I go anywhere except Essex, me no go there… But where I do go, I get trains, buses, trams & whatever else is there. Funnily enough, I got into transport in the same year the blog was born, aaaaaand... I share the same birthday as the blog... by within 10 minutes.

South West Trains 450101 + 450004, Wimbledon
South West Trains 450101 + 450004, Wimbledon (© Anthony)

Expect more like this from me, although I've already contributed to two posts already before I joined.

So yeah, happy birthday to the WLTMTB and Anthony!

Thanks for yet another year of the WLTMTB. Four years pass so quickly. It's been harder this year due to more educational stress, but things are only getting better and better!
From: Aubrey, Lewis, Josh, Jacek and Anthony - the 5 strong WLTMTB team.

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