A PLEDGE for ‘no more diesel powered buses’ by National Express has been welcomed by the Leader of Solihull Borough Council.
Speaking on ‘Zero Emissions Day’ – September 21 – Councillor Ian Courts, who holds the portfolio for environment and energy at West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said: “This is exactly the type of step change we need from all business sectors to meet the climate challenge.
“Not only will it help the West Midlands lead the way towards zero emissions and send a signal to the wider business community, but their actions will help to improve the air quality now and for future generations.”
National Express has won praised for bringing the region a step nearer to having an all-electric bus fleet and recently pledged never to buy another diesel bus in the UK.
Currently the company has 19 electric buses in service in Birmingham and Solihull and ten running in Coventry.
By the end of the year they will find out the outcome of the bid to be chosen as Britain’s first town or city to have only electric buses as part of a Government scheme to make fleets greener.
The WMCA has set a target for the region to be carbon neutral by 2041.
The region’s Mayor, Andy Street said: “From support for new-high tech industries – such as our work to bring a battery Gigafactory to the region – to our recently relaunched regional ‘Starley’ cycle network, and our expansion of the West Midlands metro, our plan for the region is an environmentally friendly one.
“That’s not just because clean energy helps secure the future of our planet, it’s also because our plan will help secure high-skilled ‘green’ jobs of the future – and it’s why these electric buses are an important step on our journey.”
To make the change to electric National Express’ 80-year-old Yardley Wood garage has been retrofitted with a shed-sized battery, a charging station for each bus and a system so engineers can monitor the buses’ performance from their laptops. The buses charge up in four hours and can run for 190 kilometres before needing another charge.