The first fully-electric public bus service in southern England was launched today at Poundbury in Dorchester.
Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council and the Duchy Of Cornwall have paid for the buses with help from a grant of £166,000 from the Department for Transport’s Green Bus Fund.
The electric buses will be used on the number 6 bus route operating between Dorchester town centre and Poundbury.
The two British-made Optare Solo vehicles, the latest models, are the first fully electric public buses operating in Southern England.
The buses will make estimated carbon emissions savings of around 39 tons per year compared to diesel buses, giving some air quality benefits to the town’s residents and producing a minimum impact on the environment.
The electric buses will also provide estimated diesel fuel savings of £25,000 over five years compared to two diesel powered buses.
Dorset County Council contributed £130,000 and West Dorset District Council contributed £100,000 towards the buses’ purchase. The Duchy of Cornwall contributed £11,000 to pay for a higher electric bus specification and installed some bus infrastructure in Poundbury.
The electric Solo buses are some of the first fully electric full size buses to operate on British roads and these new models have an improved battery electrical system and extended range.
At 8.9 metres long, the buses can carry 28 seated passengers and travel between 80 to 100 miles per charge.
They have a low floor with a manual fold out wheelchair ramp and are fitted with a Real Time Passenger Information system so passengers at the bus stop or online can see when the next will arrive.