Ultra Low Emissions for Brighton & Hove

by Sarah Ryman Sustainability Brighton

Have you spotted one of the 30 new double decker buses yet?

Brighton & Hove has welcomed the first buses in the UK that can be set to run in zero-emissions mode whenever they travel through a city centre. Brighton & Hove Buses have invested £9.9 million in 30 new hybrid electric buses which is great news for the environment.

The buses are set to run in zero-emissions mode every time they enter Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) improving air quality in the city centre and using fuel very efficiently, reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change.

Image: Brighton & Hove Buses

The new buses were launched in October on busy route 5, which is used by 7.6 million people a year and equates to 133,104 emissions-free miles driven in the ULEZ each year.

The Enviro400ERs stand out from the rest of the regular fleet, mirroring the colours of Brighton: the midnight-blue silhouetted skyline, the dark teal of the sea and the iconic pale green of the city’s seaside arches.

Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Buses Martin Harris said: “We wanted these buses to reflect the city and the communities they serve. It’s a tribute to Brighton life and to the people who live here. Our aim is to help improve air quality for everybody by continually cutting emissions and reducing our energy and fuel use. These new buses are an important part of our commitment to making Brighton & Hove a clean air city.”

"We fully intend to continue to pursue our mission to deliver zero emissions in the city centre and to support the council's carbon target of net zero by 2030. We are very excited by the prospect these buses offer despite their being 50% more expensive than the Euro V1 alternative. We have a short period ahead of very detailed data analysis on the performance of these new buses in real world operation in our city so we can evaluate whether the best next step is to buy more like this next year. We will continue to invest in the best available solutions that we can."

A double decker bus can take as many as 75 cars off the roads in our cities and towns, so when it comes to improving the air quality and congestion in our cities buses are a vital part of the solution.

The buses mark the start of the bus company’s wider community environmental campaign, Live & Breathe, which appears on the side of each bus. The Enviro400ER buses, which are fully electric drive, run on batteries, topped up via regenerative braking and a small Euro 6 generator, if needed, when the bus is outside the zone. They’re the most practical way of achieving no emissions through the centre of Brighton because they don’t need to recharge in the middle of the day keeping buses in service and eliminating the need for expensive and intrusive roadside charging stations.

Key features and facts

  • It's the first time in the UK that zero-emission capability has been combined with geofencing
  • Improved air quality in the city’s ULEZ
  • First hybrid buses in the UK that can run for this long in zero-emissions mode
  • All route 5 buses will run in zero-emissions mode in the ULEZ from October
  • Route 5 buses serve 7.6 million passengers a year
  • Up to 24 route 5 buses an hour run through the ULEZ
  • This equates to 133,104 emissions-free miles driven in the ULEZ a year
  • Route 5 is one of the city’s busiest routes, covering areas including Hangleton, Hollingbury, Hove, Patcham and Preston Park
  • They have cameras and monitors, not wing mirrors, for improved safety
  • A smoother, quieter journey for everyone
  • The ULEZ covers Castle Square in the Old Steine, North Street and Western Road, as far as Palmeira Square
  • Enviro400ER buses were built by Alexander Dennis and use BaE Systems’ technology

These buses are quite different to hybid technology seen in many older duel fuel vehicles - these extended range electric buses are only ever driven by the battery in electric mode and the Euro V1 diesel generator is the range extender. Their emissions are reduced below Euro V1 across the route but are guaranteed to be emissions free in the ULEZ by the geo-fencing. They have proven to routinely go beyond that in zero emissions and also to reduce to zero emissions in most situations where they are slowing down to a stop for example at bus stops and traffic lights, and when pulling away from standing.

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