Bristol is set to invest in new hybrid buses that can switch from diesel to electric automatically in low emissions zones after securing a £1m grant from Government.
The buses use ‘geo-fence’ technology that automatically switches diesel-electric hybrid vehicles to zero emissions once they enter a specific GPS location or ‘trigger zone’ within the city.
Similar technology is planned for London’s taxis to allow the hybrid vehicles to switch from diesel or petrol to electric when entering pollution hotspots. The plan is to ensure all taxis in the capital have this technology by January 1 2018 as well as many buses.
In Bristol the trigger zones will also be set in areas with poorer air quality and the city council said it will use the data collected to evaluate the benefits for the city environment along with their the operational impacts for the bus service.
Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson said: ‘This is perfect timing for Bristol to test such advanced technology as we start our year as the UK’s first European Green Capital which is very much about the health of the city. This ‘geo-fence’ technology will enable vehicles to recognise when they enter the areas of the city where we have the most significant air pollution problems and then switch to a green electric mode.
'We need to exploit these new technologies to help us reach a future where we can all enjoy cleaner air, and a healthier future where streets are no longer clogged with traffic, where public transport provides an affordable, quality alternative to the car, and it is increasingly attractive to walk and cycle. Air quality improvements improve health and bring a higher standard of living which will contribute further to Bristol’s reputation as the most liveable city in the UK.’
Announcing the £1m cash grant for Bristol - which coincides with the city’s year as European Green Capital - Baroness Kramer said: ‘The Department for Transport’s £1m funding will provide greener buses to help tackle poor air quality across the city. Today’s announcement follows the £58m Green Bus Fund which led to almost 900 new low carbon buses coming into service in England.’