London electric buses hit four-figure milestone

  • London has reached a milestone of over 1,000 fully-electric buses for the capital, as it stays on track for a full zero-emission fleet by 2034 at the latest.
  • The impressive growth started from just 30 electric buses in 2016.
  • This milestone is crucial for the city’s aim to become net zero by 2030.

Over 1,000 electric buses are now on London’s streets

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that over 1,000 zero-emission electric buses are now operating on the streets of the capital, resulting in over 11% of TfL’s current bus fleet being fully electrified. This number also makes it the largest electric bus fleet in Europe.

This number has grown from just 30 electric buses back in 2016. This rapid growth was partly facilitated by the mandate that every new bus had to be electric from 2021. Several of London’s bus operators have contributed a significant amount to this number – Metroline are operating over 100 electric buses in the capital, whilst Go-Ahead London has over 500 in service. This also means that London has 54 routes running solely on zero-emission buses.

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At the current rate of growth, TfL will be able to reach a fully-electric bus fleet by 2034. However, it has noted that with continuous investment from central government it could bring this timeline down to 2030. This would be an impressive feat, considering that the deadline for the sale of new fossil fuel-powered buses has not yet been put in place.

“London has a world-class public transport network and our zero emission bus fleet is setting the standard for others to follow. I’m committed to cleaning up London’s air achieving net-zero carbon by 2030, and that includes delivering a zero-emission bus fleet. The decarbonisation of our bus fleet, the increases and improvements in bus services in outer London, and the new proposed Superloop will help build a better, greener London for all”.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

How the rest of the UK fares

Oxford is another city that is pushing hard for zero-emission buses. The local Oxford Bus Company is expecting delivery of over 104 electric buses, starting to arrive later this year, and some of these will be used to make the Oxford Brookes route fully-electric.

Warrington Borough Council also has 105 electric buses arriving in 2024, which will entirely replace the area’s current fleet – which will make it one of the largest bus electrification schemes in the country.

Reacting to the news, electric fleet charging infrastructure group Fleete told us:

“A huge congratulations to TFL for achieving a milestone for fleet electrification Whilst a significant achievement, we still have a long way to go to achieve the UK target to reach a zero-emission bus fleet by 2034.

“Government incentives have been helpful for fleet operators in kick-starting their transition to electric, however achieving the 2034 target date will require an evolution of the approach to EV charging infrastructure. For example, electrification of existing depots primed for overnight charging, could be supplemented with strategically located shared charging hubs. This would enable convenient charging and route optimisation for a wide range of commercial vehicles during work hours, driver downtime and breaks.

“Expansion of fast charging corridors along major transport routes would change the landscape for long distance travel for electric fleet. New business models and services such as Charging as a Service can provide bus operators, logistics companies and last mile delivery providers across the UK with the right tools and support and, in particular, upfront financing to accelerate their transition plans and overcome the current challenges faced by operators for electrification.”

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