Following electric bus trials in Cardiff that began in 2018, Newport is now going to become the first city in Wales to sport the country’s first electric bus. By April 2020 the city will receive another 14 electric buses.
Earlier this year, the Welsh Department for Transport announced £48m in funding for low-emission buses across the country.
Newport Transport is Newport’s main bus operator and the recipient of the first electric bus, which will start operations this week. Newport Transport has ordered a total of 15 fully-electric buses, all of which should be out by March next year.
The operation of electric buses in Newport is made possible through a partnership between Newport Transport, the bus manufacturer Yutong and the energy company Zenobe Energy. Zenobe will own the batteries and charging infrastructure of the vehicles, while Newport Transport will buy the energy of them. The buses will be able to travel 116 miles /187 km on one charge, before being charged overnight at the depot.
Morgan Stevens, operations director at Newport Transport, said: “It’s a lot quieter – there’s a lot less noise, a lot less vibrations on the engine – which will improve the passenger experience on short and long-distance journeys.”
The introduction of electric buses in the country follow the government’s acknowledgement of a climate emergency and the scrapping of plans to build an M4 relief road, which would have caused damage estimated at £1.4bn.
Newport Transport managing director Scott Pearson said “The Welsh Government has already declared a climate emergency [and] there are a number of poor air quality zones in Newport that need to be addressed. So the first electric vehicles are going to go on one of those routes – that’s Caerleon and back… With the M4 relief road now not being built, I think bus can offer that alternative of mass transportation and if we do it with electric vehicles, it ticks so many boxes. We can carry up to 70 or 80 people on a double-decker. I think it will hopefully reduce the congestion in Newport.”
Also Cardiff will be getting 36 electric buses and Caerphilly, 16.