Letter: Electric buses not yet viable solution

Electric buses are still far more expensive than their diesel equivalents.
Electric buses are still far more expensive than their diesel equivalents.

I am pleased that your correspondent Tom Farrell of Snainton (Letters, January 19) welcomes our four new single buses for our Scarborough & District services and I was interested in his suggestion that we could have done even better by buying electric powered buses rather than more diesel ones.

Electric buses are still far more expensive than their diesel equivalents, and there is also the cost of installing the necessary charging infrastructure at the bus operator’s depot and on some routes at another roadside location as well.

When they become necessary, replacement batteries are also very expensive.

Experience with those electric buses currently available suggests that at least some are not so reliable, although this will no doubt improve as more development takes place.

In many cases electric buses have to be recharged during the day depending on the mileage operated by the bus and this can take up to eight minutes or so.

Especially if a bus is already running late due perhaps to traffic congestion, I am sure passengers would not be very pleased if they had to wait a further eight minutes while their bus is recharged.

At this stage electric buses are more suitable for routes such as Park and Ride which tend to be fairly short and relatively low mileage and at least have an off-road parking area at one end of the route where charging facilities can be installed and time taken to recharge when necessary, although the charging time can still be a problem.

Recent research by the International Council of Clean Transportation has discovered that heavy duty vehicles such as diesel powered buses are far cleaner than cars with much smaller diesel engines.

Our new buses have been built to the very latest ‘Euro 6’ emission standards and are also expected to give better fuel consumption than the ones they replaced so less fuel burned also means even less harmful emissions.

The ‘Euro 1’ emission requirement was introduced in 1993 and the standard has been progressively tightened until we now have Euro 6.

The Euro 6 standard limits emissions per kilowatt hour to 0.4 grams of nitrous oxide compared to 8 grams on ‘pre-Euro’ buses so there really has been a very significant reduction in nitrous oxide particle emissions.

We will continue to monitor the situation and of course if and when electric – or indeed gas-powered - buses become an economic and viable proposition we will certainly consider them.

Peter Shipp,

chairman

and chief executive,

EYMS Group Ltd

Hornsea