100% solar-powered buses arrive in London as UK eyes zero emissions by 2050


Soon to be trundling along London’s busy streets, the zero-carbon vehicle was designed and developed by China’s BYD company. The bus is 10.2m long, features full air conditioning and offers seats and standing spaces for 81 passengers. The batteries deliver 345 kWh of power and can run for up to 190 miles of typical urban driving. Recharging the bus takes about four hours and can be completed overnight using low-cost off-peak electricity, the company said in a press release.

“The Mayor of London challenged us saying that he did not believe an electric Double Decker was technically feasible but we took up the challenge and in less than two years created the bus Londoners can see today,” said Isbrand Ho, Managing Director of BYD Europe. “This is not a hybrid bus but a totally emissions-free product that will give London a world leading position in its efforts to improve air quality.”

BYD will supply the fleet of five buses for Transport for London and Metroline. The company is currently working on an on introduction program, which includes driver training and the installation of fast charging equipment at Metroline’s Willesden Bus Garage in north London.

On Monday, the day before the first clean Double Decker was introduced at London City Hall, energy minister Andrea Leadsom addressed the government with the proposal to “enshrine” the Paris goal for net zero emissions by 2050 in U.K. law.

Following the Climate Change Act passed in 2008, the U.K. is currently aiming to cut its CO2 emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Also, according to the U.K.’s pledge made at the United Nations climate change conference in Paris, in less than 35 years all new cars sold in the country will be emissions free.