Bus companies turn their back on electric vehicles

Bus companies are turning their back on electric vehicles, a group examining the air quality from public transport has heard.

Hybrid and electric buses are still not economically viable, Ensign Bus Company has said after its attendance at the Brentwood Bus and Rail Users association meeting last month.

Instead the company is now focusing on investing in the newest and cleanest diesel engines compliant with the Euro 6 air quality directive to power its fleet.

Paul Dickson, customer services manager for Ensign, said: “Truth be told batteries are very expensive when they go wrong and the latest 6 diesel engines are very efficient and in some cases give a better emission result than a Hybrid bus.

“So for many operators outside London the Euro 6 diesel is the way to go at the moment.”

He said a new battery pack for an electric bus can cost £30,000 or more.

“It’s a lot of money and it becomes uneconomical in some cases,” he added. “It was hoped originally that the costs would come down but they haven’t reduced very much at all.

“Hybrid buses are a fantastic thing but the latest diesels are just as green.”
Bus companies are still having to make hard financial decisions, with the cost of a Hybrid bus between £300,000 and £350,000 almost twice the cost of a traditional diesel that costs between £180,000 and £200,000.

Ensign operates six hybrid double-decker buses but its other vehicles are all diesels.

Mr Dickson added: “At the current time we plan to invest in Euro 6 engines, that is our current plan.”