Electric technology for Milton Keynes

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Arriva has collaborated with Wrightbus, Mitsui and Conductix-Wampfler on the project
Arriva has collaborated with Wrightbus, Mitsui and Conductix-Wampfler on the project

Eight new vehicles set for service by summer 2013

Arriva the Shires has joined a project to replace its diesel buses with all-electric vehicles on a service in Milton Keynes by summer 2013.

Eight organisations, led by a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co Europe, signed the five-year collaboration on Tuesday, September 25.

The number 7 route’s diesel buses will be replaced with eight electric buses which will run seven days a week; removing around 500 tonnes of tailpipe CO2 emissions per year as well as 45 tonnes of other noxious tailpipe emissions. The route currently transports over 775,000 passengers a year.

The trial is a partnership between Mitsui subsidiary eFleet Integrated Service Ltd, Milton Keynes Council, Arriva, Wrightbus, technology supplier Conductix-Wampfler, Western Power Distribution, Chargemaster Plc and SSE.

It is managed by Mitsui-Arup joint venture MBK Arup Sustainable Projects (MASP). MASP’s aim is use the data collected by the trial to demonstrate the economic viability of low-carbon public transport. This data could be used to kick-start electric bus projects in other towns and cities worldwide.

John Miles, who initiated the trial from Arup, said: “What makes the Milton Keynes project different to other electric bus schemes is the wireless charging system. The buses will be able to cover a heavily-used urban route because they are able to charge for 10 minutes at the beginning and end of each cycle without interrupting the timetable. This means for the first time, an electric bus will effectively be able to do everything a diesel bus can do, which is a significant step forwards to a cleaner, quieter system.”

Noriaki Sakamoto, MD, Mitsui & Co. Europe Plc, said: “Since the withdrawal of the subsidy for diesel buses, we can see the cost of diesel bus operations will rise significantly. This, coupled with the anticipated reduction in the cost of batteries and electric drive systems, as well as the introduction of wirelessly charging during the day now means the electric bus is now a real contender in the future of public transport. Innovation and trials are urgently needed to find a new way forward and Mitsui is happy to back this innovative initiative because we can see the long-term benefit for the community as well as for Mitsui.”

Dr Lorraine Rock, Wrightbus Global Supply Chain Director, said: “This is the first time such a heavyduty route has been tested with electric buses and it is exciting to be part of this initiative. As the bus manufacturer, we will be on hand to support bus use – providing warranty, maintenance and support services to Arriva as needed.”

Paul Adcock, Area MD of Arriva, said: “We are delighted to be part of this project involving some amazing technology and are proud it is being trialled here. We are responsible for the operation of the buses and ensuring the service is running reliably. This trial will wholly revolutionise route 7 and we are interested to track how the drivers, current customers and potential customers will respond to the quieter, smoother electric buses.”

Cllr John Bint, Cabinet Member responsible for transport at Milton Keynes Council, said: “We are delighted to be leading the way with this innovative public transport trial. Milton Keynes led the way with the installation of electric car charge points, and we’re now showing the world how electric buses are a real alternative to the traditional diesel buses.”