This week the Transport for London (TfL) revealed its plans for the future of public transit by detailing 20 all-new electric tram buses that can recharge in as little as 10 minutes. Combining new technology with older train and tram electrification allows these buses to run almost non-stop.
The new emission-free electric buses from Irizar reportedly run along the 358 route from Crystal Palace to Orpington. If you live between those streets, soon you’ll be able to hop aboard.
According to the Mayor of London, these are a game-changer. That’s because these aren’t your typical EV that need to stop and plug in for a while to recharge the battery. Instead, a novel system will recharge them from above, during bus route stops, in as little as 10 minutes.
As a part of our commitment to making London greener for everyone, @TfL are introducing 20 new emission-free electric buses in 2023—and they only take 10 minutes to charge.
I look forward to seeing these new buses in action. https://t.co/XLMf6yJ66r
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) November 1, 2022
The fleet of electric buses has unique train-style pantographs (pictured below) mounted to the roof. This system can deliver fast charges to each bus throughout the day. However, instead of permanent arms and wires everywhere, these new electric buses only charge at bus stops.
You won’t see electrical wires along the bus route. Instead, there is a large charging station at either end of the 15-mile route linking Crystal Palace and Orpington. When one of these electric buses pulls up, it’ll lower an arm down via Wi-Fi and initiate fast charging.
Essentially, each bus gets a quick battery top-off at destinations, then continues on its way to serve the public. Irizar explains the system by saying it “combines the ease of access and internal configuration of a tram with the flexibility of a city bus.”
According to the TfL, these new “eTram buses” will start rolling in 2023, and if all goes well, Londoners can expect more buses and routes soon.