Optare wins major order from TfL for electric double-deckers

An Optare Metrodecker EV double-deck bus on trial in London earlier this year. Photo: Thomas Drake.
An Optare Metrodecker EV double-deck bus on trial in London earlier this year. Photo: Thomas Drake.

Optare, the bus manufacturer based at Sherburn-in-Elmet, has won a major order for 31 all-electric double-deck buses from Transport for London (TfL).

The buses will ply Route 134, running from North Finchley to Tottenham Court Road, and will enter operation next summer.

They are part of plans announced last week by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to increase the number of electric double-deckers in the capital tenfold, creating the largest such fleet in Europe.

Optare president Graham Belgum said: “This order for our double-deck product launched in November 2016 at Euro Bus Expo begins the next chapter in the Optare electric bus journey.

“The first Transport for London route to operate with solely electric buses began operation with an all Optare single-deck electric bus fleet four years ago. Optare are delighted to be supplying their buses once again for the first all-electric double-deck bus routes in London.

“However, the journey doesn’t stop here. We continue to develop and refine this technology. We look forward to bringing the next generation of electric buses to market later this year.”

The Metrodecker EV bus has been developed from the wheels up by Optare. It is slightly heavier than a diesel equivalent, but can carry over 90 passengers and has a range of over 150 miles on a single charge.

Claire Mann, TfL’s director of bus operations, said: “We’re committed to reducing emissions from London’s buses, and making routes 43 and 134 exclusively electric is an important step to a zero-emission fleet.

“Buses are crucial to reduce Londoners’ reliance on cars, and with this landmark order it means the largest pure electric double-deck bus fleet in Europe will help reduce emissions across the capital. Electric buses are good for air quality and improve the customer experience, with less noise and fewer vibrations, all creating a more comfortable journey.”

Optare employs around 300 people, and last week announced a new deal to supply vehicles to Reading Buses.