The first of the three Alexander Dennis (ADL) Enviro400VE ‘virtual electrics’ has gone into service with Tower Transit in London on Transport for London contracted route 69 (Walthamstow Central to Canning Town). The buses inductively recharge using induction plates sunk into the road surface at the bus stations at either end of the route. Enthusiast sources suggest that the first day of operation was Friday, November 6.
Service 69 is currently contracted to Stagecoach London which operates it from West Ham garage, but is expected to transfer to Tower Transit at Lea Interchange from April next year, hence the decision to deliver the buses direct to the new contractor.
ADL says its virtual electric can match the work-cycle of a standard diesel bus, but can run up to 80% of the time in electric mode. A GPS system switches off the hybrid drive in emission sensitive areas, only restarting it when the bus enters other parts of the route.