Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and newly elected Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin visited the Sherburn in Elmet factory of Switch Mobility (formerly Optare) on 19 May. They saw some of the benefits that Transport for London (TfL) investment in battery-electric buses is delivering to the rest of the UK.
Over 100 such buses manufactured by Switch and its predecessor will be in operation in London by later this year. The capital’s aspiration to make all its buses zero-emission by 2030 will drive further orders worth £4bn across the industry. That will lead to growth across the whole UK supply chain, says Switch, which adds that the move away from diesel will also foster further investment in green technologies.
Mr Khan’s visit to Switch was also aimed at building bridges between London and other regions of the UK, his office says. “This Yorkshire factory, which is manufacturing state of the art electric buses for London, shows how investment in our capital can help to create quality green jobs across the country,” adds Mr Khan.
Switch Mobility Vice Chairman Dr Andy Palmer says that the company’s transition from Optare “allows us to leverage our now global markets to support jobs in Leeds.” He adds: “It is important that as the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the country makes investments in the green economy and that this investment is made in local companies where we can support local jobs.”
Switch Mobility estimates that in 2020 around 50% of its revenues came via TfL contracts. Around 85% of 2021’s order book is for TfL contractors.