Few objects are more emblematic of London than the double-decker bus. No London tourist brochure would be complete without a picture of one these beauties. And it would be rare to find a cinematic montage of the city without a shot of a bright red double-decker bus zooming through the streets. The symbolic nature of the double-decker bus makes it all the more exciting that London's transport network last year introduced a new line of eco-friendly double-decker buses.
In March 2015, Transport for London (TfL) announced that it would add five all-electric, zero-emission double-decker buses to its transport system. The buses use lithium iron phosphate batteries, which enable them to travel for more than 24 hours and approximately 300 kilometres without stopping to recharge. Each bus includes air conditioning and can hold 81 passengers (54 seated, 27 standing). The buses and their batteries were designed by BYD, the world's largest electric vehicle manufacturer. BYD will also help install the London bus charging stations and help train drivers.
These new double-decker buses are both economically and environmentally efficient. Matthew Pencharz, London's Deputy Mayor of Environment and Energy, said, "It's a very exciting moment that this is happening here. The running costs are much lower and some of the maintenance and operations costs are much lower on the buses. Also, these are zero-emission, zero-tailpipe-pollution and that is a huge benefit for Londoners".
The introduction of an all-electric, zero-emission line of buses is an important next step in TfL's movement toward environmental sustainability. The government-owned organisation has made many efforts to make public transportation more eco-friendly. It is reducing CO2 emissions with its hybrid and electric buses, encouraging people to walk and ride bikes more, and protecting wildlife near the Tube's rail tracks, among other things.
TfL has big environmental plans for its bus system. According to a 2015 press release, "By 2020 all 300 single deck buses operating in central London will be zero emission (either electric or hydrogen) and all 3,000 double deck buses will be hybrid".
If you would like to learn more about Transport for London's environmental policies and actions, you can find additional information on their Corporate Social Responsibility webpage.