Fully electric buses to hit Brighton’s streets next month

Posted On 30 Jan 2017 at 4:29 pm

Fully electric buses are to be trialled in Brighton from the spring, with red London buses soon to be spotted along the 50 and 50U routes from Brighton city centre to Falmer via Hollingdean.

An electric bus on route in London. Picture by domdomegg

An electric bus on route in London. Picture by domdomegg


The Big Lemon was the first to announce it was to put electric buses on the city’s streets, with its two single deckers due to be trialled late next month.

Brighton and Hove Buses is also looking into the possibility, with a loan of a double decker buses shortly to arrive from London and expected to hit the road in April.

And if the trial proves successful, Brighton and Hove Buses may invest in a whole fleet.

Tom Druitt, managing director of the Big Lemon, said: “We have got two buses which have been created. They’re currently on trial in Sheffield and they should be in Brighton by the end of February.

“Then testing and trials and we are hoping they will be in service at the end of April.”

Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses, said: “We are considering many options. We are exploring converting a number of diesel buses to electric, and we’re investing in micro hybrid buses which reduce diesel consumption and emissions.

“What we are really excited about, is the arrival of a fully electric demo BYD Volvo doubledeck bus which we can trial in the city very soon. It will be the same electric bus that is used in London. We need to see how this vehicle will cope with the city’s unique topography and high passenger loads, as it’s vital to match a vehicles capabilities to the profile of the route.

“We’ll shortly be welcoming a representative from BYD Volvo, who’ll be assessing our route profiles. He can tell us which bus routes would be most suited to the currently available fully electric buses.

“All being well, with a successful trial period, we could be investing in a fleet of electric buses for one of our city’s major routes in the not too distant future.

“Buses that will help us to take a hold of nature’s hand and protect our wonderful city.”

Brighton and Hove Buses already includes 13 hybrid diesel electric buses and the company is on track to achieve the council’s low emission zone target a year ahead of deadline. However, with buses contributing heavily to some of the city’s pollution hotspots, more needs to be done.

It’s estimated that the city’s bus takes about 50,000 cars off the city’s road every day.

  1. Benny Reply

    Will they be able to run the next time we have one inch of snow or will Brighton buses continue to throw passengers off and rush back to the garage?

  2. Hjarrs Reply

    Electric buses really should be the way forward, they are effectively the return of trolley buses without the wires. They offer not only a leap forward in comfort for passenger with near silent speedy operation, but no emissions locally and potentially lower well to wheel CO2 emissions.

  3. John Ashmore Reply

    Well done to Big Lemon. I hope they have the backup in place to ensure the trial is a 100% success. I wish you well with the project, and your strategic view of the future.

  4. Gerald Wiley Reply

    Very interested in seeing how Brighton & Hove Buses manage with their electric buses on the 50 and 50U routes. They seem to have a good plan in place and as the main source of pollution in the city centre we have most to gain.

    Perhaps if they also looked at routing some of their buses away from the city centre rather than insisting that all buses go via the Clock Tower.

    Not so sure about Big Lemon with their crowd-funded buses that are being “created” – John Ashmore says it is a “trial” but I thought this was already designed and costed as a proven solution! This linked to them only having one bus route that operates in the city centre three times per day limits the potential benefit to the environment. I hope they have good charging facilities to deal with the hills in Ovingdean and Woodingdean.

    Lets really hope that electric buses can cope with the terrain in the city. @HJarrs says they are like trolley buses without the wires, but in reality they have to carry all the electricity with them – limiting the potential usage – but over time the technology will surely improve. However, I would have thought hydrogen fuelled buses would be a much better solution.

  5. John Ashmore Reply

    Gerald, the article says it is a trial.

    • Gerald Wiley Reply

      True – but only Brighton and Hove Buses state it is a real trial.

      But based upon what Big Lemon was stating previously, and that they’ve secured finance via crowd-funding, you’d assume that there’s was beyond a trial.

      On the Big Lemon web page where they have received funding for Solar Panels they clearly state “The solar panels will be installed in the New Year and the first solar bus will go into service in the Spring of 2017”. No mention of any trial there – especially to all those who provided the £500k funding for the buses or £13k for the solar panels on the roof of their depot.

      BTW – I’m surprised that Big Lemon couldn’t raise any of this capital based upon their economic business model.

  6. ken rist Reply

    In reply to Gerald Wiley I’ve suggested to the bus company many years ago a route from Shoreham or worthing to Brighton via red lion Shoreham straight along the old Shoreham road down to Preston circus then to old steine and back this route meets nearly all the other routes so any problems in the Town centres could bypass but also cutting back on Churchill square for Cross town commuters

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