UK Bus operator Stagecoach has modified its electric vehicle fleet in Inverness to enable the vehicles to run for longer between charging sessions.
The company operates six Optare Solo electric buses in Inverness and has worked with Optare to extend the battery range of the vehicles.
The buses were rolled out onto routes last year, and feature electric heating, which the company claims is more environmentally friendly option than diesel heaters.
According to Stagecoach the buses can now cover 130 miles before needing to be charged, compared to the previous range of 95 miles.
Sam Greer, Stagecoach UK bus engineering director, commented: â€œSustainability is at the heart of our business and we have worked with Optare to develop a fleet of vehicles that is emissions free and now even more efficient, as well as providing improved comfort for passengers and reduced vehicle noise.
â€œImportantly, these buses will help further improve air quality for the people of Inverness.â€
Stagecoach claims the vehiclesâ€™ newly-extended range means each bus can complete a full day of service before requiring charging.
Robert Drewery, commercial director, Optare, said, â€œWe are extremely pleased with this series of innovative firsts, already the UKâ€™s most efficient electric bus in terms of kWh per mile, these six extended range fully electric buses are the first to go into operation and are also the first of their kind with electric heating.â€œ
Optare has provided electric buses elsewhere in Scotland with the countryâ€™s first electric zero-emissions bus clocking up more than 100,000 miles as part of a local service, following its launch in November 2013.
The Optare Solo battery-powered bus is operated by transport firm McLeans as part of a service linking the ferry ports at Cairnryan to the railway station in Stranraer, West Scotland.
The bus received part-funding and support through the Scottish Governmentâ€™s Green Bus Fund and the regional transport partnership in Dumfries and Galloway, SWestrans (See airqualitynews.com story).