The Big Lemon launches UK’s first solar buses

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Tom Druitt and Norman Baker (left) at the launch of the new Optare Solos which have Magtec electric drives

Pair of Optare Solos, retrofitted by Magtec, will operate on the company’s 52 route

On Friday, April 28, the UKs first solar energy-powered electric buses were launched by The Big Lemon.

The Brighton-based eco-friendly operator will run the vehicles daily, serving the 52 route between Woodingdean and Brighton city centre. The two Optare Solos have been converted to carry Magtec electric drives.

The launch event gave attendees the chance to tour the Boundary Road solar depot, with the recently installed solar panels on the depot roof proudly shown off. The panels enable the two buses to be charged overnight.

Despite all the vehicles being painted in a bright lemon yellow livery, the fleet is one of the ‘greenest’ in Britain, as the other vehicles run on cooking oil.

Company founder Tom Druitt said: “We’re delighted to be launching the UK’s first solar-powered electric buses and we are hugely grateful for the support from the local community to enable us to make this happen.

“Transport accounts for a quarter of this country’s carbon emissions and we see this step as the first in a much wider revolution in sustainable transport nationally.”

The Big Lemon’s MD Norman Baker said: “This is an exciting time for The Big Lemon. This event shows both that we continue to lead the way in terms of sustainable transport, and that we are expanding our fleet, and going from strength to strength.”