Humza Yousaf and Richard Hall

Humza Yousaf and Richard Hall on board one of the all-electric buses

Lothian Buses introduces its first all-electric buses

A fleet of six all-electric buses hit the streets of Edinburgh for the first time today as Lothian Buses continues to invest in improving air quality.

At an investment of over £2.7m, Lothian has introduced six Wrightbus StreetAir single deck buses to its Service 1, between Clermiston in the west of the city and Easter Road in Leith. 

Operating through Edinburgh’s central air quality management area, the investment cements the company’s commitment to reduce emissions and improve air quality in its operating environment.

Once a further five vehicles are added to the service during 2018, it will be the capital city’s first fully electric route. Around 1.8m customers travel on the service every year. The first batch of new buses will enter service from Sunday.

Humza Yousaf, minister for transport, said: “I am delighted to be able to join Lothian in the launch of their new electric buses. It is fantastic to see operators, like Lothian, investing in their fleet in a way that supports both their passengers and the environment through new low carbon and electric vehicles.

“Lothian have benefitted through the Scottish Green Bus Fund and I would encourage all operators to continue to consider the various grants that the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland can provide.”

Richard Hall, managing director of Lothian, added: “We fully support the Scottish Government’s and City of Edinburgh Council’s strategies to improve local air quality. The introduction of full electric buses to this route, combined with our on-going fleet replacement strategy ‘Bus 2020’, ensures that we as a business are doing our part to improve air quality across the city.

“These buses are not only fitted with zero emission technology, they are also quieter and smoother, offering a better customer experience for the thousands of customers who travel with us every day.

“Electric bus technology is here and we need to embrace it and ensure that it is part of our future fleet and business planning strategies. It has a really important and exciting role alongside traditional diesel and hybrid technologies.”

The delivery of cleaner and greener buses into the fleet is central to Lothian’s ‘Bus 2020’ Environmental Strategy, which includes ongoing investments in low and zero emission buses. The company aims to reduce its emissions footprint by a further 42% by 2020.

Built in the UK, the six WrightBus StreetAir single deck buses can accommodate up to 70 passengers. They are fitted with Wi-Fi, high back seats, USB charging points and LED spotlights.

The buses operate on a pure electric powertrain, including an all-electric heating and cooling system, with 300 kWh of total battery energy which allows the buses to run with zero tailpipe emissions.

The electric buses are also designed with regenerative braking, allowing the energy created when the vehicle is braking to be recovered back to the batteries and stored to power the vehicle. This extends the range of the bus.