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UK’s first electric bus passenger trials reviewed by Aston

Electric bus trials
Electric bus trials

5th August, 2010

Bus passengers in Stratford-upon-Avon are the first members of the UK public to ride on a newly engineered electric bus, as part of a trial scheme reviewed by Aston University.

The six-day trial carried out by Johnsons Coach & Bus Travel was funded by Stratford District Council and Stratford Town Trust. The success of the trial could enable Johnsons to take advantage of a Green Bus Fund grant of £280,000 awarded by the Department of Transport for the purchase of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

Optare Solos, who provide the town’s park-and-ride route, rolled out their reengineered Solo EV complete with electric systems from technical giant Siemens, their new partner. The new bus now features the same final driveline used in the company’s hybrid vehicles including a 120kW motor and 80kWh Lithium-Iron-Phosphate battery packs. During the trial, the Solo EV was charged overnight in Stratford, with one charge proving capable of travelling on average between 50-70 miles. 

Day five of the trial saw elected representatives of the town sample the electric bus experience. Chair of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Jose Compton was very positive of her experience, “I was remarkably impressed at the lack of noise and vibrations when stood in traffic, whilst externally, the bus made no addition to pollution levels. It is a very smooth ride and I predict a glimpse of the future.”

Aston, alongside Coventry University, have been looking at the trials’ practical data findings, through the analysis of emissions, fuel consumption and running costs. Laurence Chittock, Aston University PhD researcher, has been helping to carry out the data analysis.

Trial findings will determine the commercial viability for the use of electric buses across the country, potentially accelerating the introduction of cleaner buses to Britain’s roads.

Aston University is also at the forefront of the CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrators) project, with the University’s role led by engineering academic Brian Price. Over this year, the project will showcase 110 ultra low carbon vehicles on the streets of Birmingham and Coventry. 

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For further information please contact Munira Jasat, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4547.

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