Brighton-based eco-friendly bus company, The Big Lemon, have been awarded a half million-pound government grant to add five brand new electric vehicles to their fleet of 12 low – emission buses.
In an announcement in Westminster earlier this month, buses minister Nusrat Ghani declared that The Big Lemon had become the latest winner of Ultra-Low Emission Bus funding which will provide £48m support for 263 ultra-low emission vehicles across the country.
The grant of £560,000 – whilst not covering the complete £1.5m cost of the buses, which will be raised through a combination of public funding and the issuing of bonds to local investors – will go towards launching five brand new built-to-spec zero-emission buses that will hit the streets in early 2020.
Speaking to Latest TV, a spokesperson for The Big Lemon declared that the new buses were “very smooth and comfortable” adding that the new buses would be able to run “most routes for the whole day” on a single charge from dedicated solar panels placed on the roof of the depot.
A driver for The Big Lemon commented on the quality of the new buses: “For the driver: they are smooth, quiet, comfortable and quick. For the passengers: they are all of the above, and they impress with acceleration. For the City: no emissions and taking people out of cars.”
In a statement on their website, TBL announced their plans for the future of the company: “Our vision is that by 2030 every community in the UK has zero-emissions bus services run on renewable energy, and with six routes in Brighton and Hove soon to be powered by solar energy generated on the roof of our bus depot this is an important step to realising that vision.”
The Big Lemon acquired their first fully electric bus back in 2017, kicking off their mission to “convert the entire fleet to electric”. Since then TBL have been looking to “move away from biodiesels” in favour of newer “renewable alternatives” a spokesperson added.
The five new buses – three of which have already been delivered – are not likely to be seen on Brighton roads until January 2020 when a final agreement plan with the Department of Transport has been reached and investors for the scheme found, however when they do eventually touch down it will not only be a victory for The Big Lemon bus company but also one for the environment.