UK Power Networks (UKPN) has installed new underground cables and equipment at a local substation in London to enable the electrification of up to 150 buses.
The Distribution Network Operator (DNO) confirmed that the upgrade will enable Abellio London’s Twickenham Bus Depot to introduce cleaner mobility solutions thus driving decarbonisation deeper into the UK transportation network.
According to a statement made by the organisation “the first 30 new electric double-decker buses are now operating from the depot on route 111 between Heathrow Central and Kingston’s Cromwell Road Bus Station”.
The underground cables had been introduced as part of UKPN’s Green Recovery programme. Contributing to this work at the Twickenham Bus Depot, the distributor has installed 2.5km of new underground cable and upgraded the local substation via an investment of approximately £1.8 million to deliver 3.86MVA of additional power capacity.
The equipment will connect 30 chargepoints that will charge buses overnight.
“This investment in essential new power infrastructure will enable Twickenham Bus Depot’s entire bus fleet to go completely electric in the years ahead, improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions,” said Adam Lakey, leading the Green Recovery projects for UK Power Networks.
“We worked with local communities, government and Ofgem to identify projects where investment in electricity infrastructure could kick-start a Green Recovery, promote economic recovery and make tangible progress to connect more electric vehicles.”
Transport for London (TfL) welcomed the new electric buses with these set to contribute towards its net zero targets. In October 2022, the organisation stated it had introduced rapid, wireless bus charging technology into a Bexleyheath bus garage in a bid to support the organisation’s transformation to a zero-emission bus fleet by 2034.
In 2017, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveiled ambitious plans for the city’s entire transport network to be zero emissions by 2050. The strategy indicated the first target was to cut as many as three million car journeys within London’s borders.
Optimising technologies to create an all-electric bus fleet could have a major impact on carbon reduction in the capital whilst also providing the necessary infrastructure to scale charging capabilities.
Commenting on UKPN’s upgrade, Louise Cheeseman, director of bus at TfL, said: “These works at the Twickenham garage are helping drive forward our zero-emission bus agenda, giving bus operators the capacity to charge the significant number of vehicles now operating in London.
“London has one of the largest and greenest fleets in the world, but we won’t stop until every single one of the capital’s buses is zero-emission.
“With their smooth, quiet journeys and innovative features, zero-emission buses don’t just help reduce the effects of climate change and improve air quality – they help to make our city better for everyone and offer a great alternative to the car when getting around town.”