West Coast Motors trials electric Optare Solo

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West Coast Motors is currently using an electric Optare Solo bus on routes around the Oban town centre and to some outlying villages, the Highlands Press and Journal reported.

The 29-seater is currently on a 10-day secondment in Oban after also being trialled at other West Coast Motors depots, including Ardrishaig and Campbeltown.

Russell Dods, Oban and Mull Area Manager, said: “We just want to see if it works in this area. It is green technology with no diesel fumes.

“It is fine in the cities where there are lots of charging points. Oban is like a bowl with hills to Soroba and Dunollie and we have only got the charging point at our depot at Glengallan. However, we had it on the Soroba Dunollie route all day and it only used three quarters of the power. That’s around 100 miles.

“We also tried the supermarket route via Mossfield, Longsdale and Nant Drive, which was 101 miles and it still came back with 22% charge left.

“Obviously when it goes uphill it is using more power. When it comes downhill it is regenerating power.

“It is just like a normal bus to drive but it is really quiet, which takes a bit of getting used to.”

The Solo is charged overnight for six hours.

“We will have to do the figures and work out how much electricity we use compared to how much diesel,” said Russell.

“I hope we get one. It will depend on how much grant money is available.”