Double decker dialogue.

I do not intend to start a ‘tit for tat’ war on this website about the pros and cons of having an open top tourist bus service in Bath but it was interesting – in talking about the environmental consequences of oil powered engines to sample some stories about electric driven coaches and buses.

Here’s what l found on the website.

China has 99 per cent of the world’s battery electric buses. As of last year it had more than 400,000 including 16,000 in Shenzhen alone. They’re starting to catch on elsewhere, including some of the smoggier parts of California – and now, at last, in the UK. Hats off to Ember, which at 5.30 am yesterday launched what it says is the country’s first all-electric intercity coach service between Dundee and Edinburgh. Tickets are £7.50 one-way with wifi, extended legroom and the good vibes that come with zero fumes, compared with £18.60 on a diesel Citylink bus. “Our business model is built on the premise this is possible if you go all in to be an electric only company,” Ember’s co-founder Keith Bradbury emailed me from the bus. “If car users knew they had a simple, well-priced, comfortable option that was also zero emissions then I think they would take it.”

Ember’s two Chinese-built buses cost £300,000 each and can do the 120-mile round trip on a single charge. Raising the money was a challenge. “Hardly anyone is interested in making it easy for bus/coach/hgv [heavy goods vehicles] to transition to battery electric,” Bradbury said. Note to government: isn’t that something we should fix?

That new Scottish service was also pointed out to me by another follower who thought the prospect of damage caused by vehicles with heavy batteries passing over Bath’s many cellars didn’t hold much water – as they have been constantly crossed by buses, coaches and lorries for many years as it is.

He also pointed out that ‘the myth that some keep spouting about hills seems to have been started by some cheap Chinese ones – which were designed for flat Chinese cities – being tested on the hills in L.A. and having under-specced motors for that. Just fit more powerful electric motors for hills, it’s simple! ‘

Another website – – also displayed a story about the world’s first zero emission electric double-decker bus which is operating on Route 98 between Willesden and Holborn. Others have been added to service other routes and Metroline is hoping to have almost 100 in operation by the end of the year. The image you see above this story is of an Enviro400EV double-decker bus in service and my thanks to Metroline for letting me use that visual.

1 Comment

  1. It should be remembered that tyres and brake pads produce a significant proportion of the PM2.5’s which are the most potentially harmful vehicle emissions.
    Unfortunately China’s economy is somewhat more robust than our own, with which to make such large investments. BANES has no money, the bus companies are only keeping going because of central government subsidies, so the investment would need to be found from ? ? – perhaps a congestion charge on cars ?

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