Kent County Council aims for a fully electric Thameside Fastrack service within the year

  • Kent County Council’s Kent Thameside Fastrack service is going fully electric within a year.
  • 28 clean energy buses will replace diesel counterparts on the Dartford and Gravesham route from Nov 2024 to Apr 2025.
  • VEV provides on-street charging, Irizar manufactures buses, and Go Ahead London manages day-to-day operations.

The Kent Thameside Fastrack service is set to go electric as part of a 15 year deal with leading emobility providers

Kent County Council (KCC) has committed to a 15-year contract, shifting the Kent Thameside Fastrack service towards emobility. The initiative will go fully electric within a year. Twenty-eight clean energy buses will replace their diesel counterparts on the Dartford and Gravesham route. The rollout will run from November 2024 to April 2025.

Beyond the bus fleet overhaul, the plan includes a strategic move towards eco-friendly infrastructure. VEV will provide on-street electric vehicle charging points. Irizar, the chosen manufacturer for the ie-Tram buses, will see their creations managed by Go Ahead London in day-to-day operations.

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Go-Ahead London’s Managing Director, David Cutts commented: 

“We are delighted to welcome the Kent Fastrack network into our portfolio and intend to provide a high-quality user experience from a dedicated facility in Dartford. 

As the UK’s biggest and most innovative Zero-Emission bus operator, with around 535 electric vehicles in service across the capital, we look forward to applying over a decade’s decarbonisation expertise in Kent.”

Managing Director of Irizar e-mobility, Iñigo Etxeberria added: 

“We are delighted that our electric bus technology has been chosen for Kent County Council’s Fastrack BRT (bus rapid transit) network. This is a clear testament to the confidence placed in our products and proof of our quality and reliability.

KCC is investing heavily in sustainable public transport solutions, and we are honoured to be part of this exciting project. We are committed to continuous improvement and this unique operation will let our company deliver the first ultra-fast charging bus routes for Kent County Council.”

VEV’s CEO, Mike Nakrani, expressed enthusiasm: 

“We are thrilled to be working with Kent County Council to build the charging infrastructure for Fastrack Electric. The council were clear that the charging solution could not impact the bus rapid transit schedule and it had to work within the space and power constraints at the depot. The innovative pantograph chargers provided the solution, safely charging away from the depot while passengers board.

This ground-breaking project exemplifies the transformative potential when public and private entities unite to build a greener, more connected future.”

This initiative shapes a cleaner and more efficient transportation landscape in the region. The collaboration between public and private entities represents a wider effort. It aims to usher in a greener and more connected future for Kent’s commuters. Local authority collaborations are a direct and reliable way to roll out cutting edge emobility technologies. Just last month, Haringey Council in London, UK, penned a deal with Veolia to electrify its on-street services. These deals allow emobility businesses to flourish, while future-proofing neighbourhoods and services for all residents.

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