Oxford Bus Company pioneers green transport with latest trial

Latest green bus trial edges Oxford city centre closer to world’s first Zero Emission Zone

Oxford Bus Company (OBC) has completed its second batch of trials for a fully electric bus.

As part of its continued research into green technology, a BYD ADL Enviro200EV electric bus was used on the park-and-ride service 500 providing further insights into the standards of electric technology. When fully charged, an average daily range of 130 miles was achieved.

Managing Director Phil Southall says: “Our latest trial was beneficial, and we gained some valuable learnings. The feedback from drivers and passengers was positive.”

The trial coincides with the company’s commitment towards more environmental technology innovation. One of the first investors in diesel-electric hybrid buses, half of OBC’s fleet are powered by hybrid technology. Following government funding it is now introducing fully electric vehicles into its Oxford City Sightseeing fleet.

With Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council proposals, all polluting vehicles could be phased out from 2020 – making the city centre the world’s first Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ).

It is hoped this zone will extend to all non-electric vehicles by 2035. OBC is already upgrading buses from low emission Euro 5 to ultra-low emission Euro 6 standard, reducing harmful exhaust emissions by as much as 90%.

However, issues remain with the technology, chief among them range, says Mr Southall. At this stage an electric bus has only enough storage capacity to operate one of the nineteen bus schedules on the Oxford park-and-ride routes. Charging was also initially hampered by an incompatible charging station – key issues for stakeholders as plans are further developed for the ZEZ, he adds.