A Norwich bus depot is one of the first outside London to turn fully electric.
New underground cables and equipment have been installed at a local substation by UK Power Networks, upgrading the Roundtree Way depot to fully power electric buses.
The project is part of UK Power Networks’ Green Recovery programme, which is investing £66 million across 85 sites to fast-track low carbon energy projects that will help the UK achieve Net Zero by 2050.
First Bus plans to have 70 battery-electric buses in service by the end of March. Several double deckers – from Wrightbus Electroliner – are already a familiar sight on city bus routes.
Piers Marlow, managing director of First East of England, said: “These vehicles offer significant environmental benefits, saving around 75 tonnes of CO2 per vehicle per year when compared to a diesel, and will improve the air quality for the city’s residents and visitors as they emit zero tailpipe emissions.
“Importantly, they will also improve the journey experience for our customers, and are fitted with all the modern features, offering a quieter and smoother ride, USB charging points, and good accessibility features. We hope that Norwich’s bus users are as pleased with them as we are.”
To fund the purchase of the vehicles, First Bus and Norfolk County Council secured an investment of £14.7 million from the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area (ZEBRA) government funding. The grant is matched with around £23 million of funding by First Bus.
Graham Plant, Cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, added: “The support that First Bus has shown for this project demonstrates the excellent working relationship we have with our bus operators here in Norfolk and how working together can help to achieve the very best for our county.”