Trials of a fully-electric double-decker â€˜Metrodecker EVâ€™ bus have begun in Leeds, following on from a similar trial launched in York in the summer.
The trial is being led by the transport operator First Leeds, backed by the bus manufacturer Optare, and with the support of Leeds city council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
The first Metrodecker EV bus has entered service in the city this week, and will be seen serving the park & ride sites at Elland Road and Temple Green.
The zero-emission and fully electric bus has the capacity to carry 99 passengers and has a range of nearly 150 miles from one overnight charge. The new vehicle is being trialled as part of First Leedsâ€™s commitment to investing Â£71m in 284 new ultra-low emissions buses for the city, the company has said.
Commenting on the trial Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds city council said that electric buses are likely to form a part of the cityâ€™s strategy to improve air quality.
She said: â€œAs part of our new transport strategy for Leeds we are committed to not only offering the best possible public transport for the city but also doing everything we can to improve our air quality. Working with First Leeds and the other bus operators we are focused on making that happen so this new zero emissions vehicle is just the start with much more to follow.â€
Paul Matthews, managing director at First Leeds, said: â€œAs one of the major bus operators in Leeds, we understand the vital role we play in working with the council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Bus 18 initiative, to find solutions to reduce air pollution in the city. Allied to our commitment to invest in 284 new vehicles in Leeds with the latest engine technologies that significantly reduce pollutants, Iâ€™m thrilled to welcome the trial of a fully electric double decker bus into the city.â€
West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport chair Councillor Keith Wakefield, added: â€œThe Combined Authority is committed to improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions across West Yorkshire and is, through the Bus 18 initiative, working with the countyâ€™s main bus operators on the introduction of cleaner buses.
â€œWe are also committed to monitoring the development of electric vehicle technology, such as we are seeing today and I am pleased that this ground-breaking bus has been developed by a Leeds City Region company, Optare.â€
Leeds has been one of the major cities targeted by the government to introduce plans to improve air quality, and reduce nitrogen dioxide from transport emissions.
The city is hosting a trial of â€˜geofencingâ€™ technology which would see sensors remotely trigger electric hybrid engines to switch to zero emission mode in polluted areas, as part of action to improve air quality (see airqualitynews.com story).