The Go-Ahead Group has joined partners in Oxford to launch one of the UK’s biggest fleets of electric buses.

A £82.5 million project will deliver 159 battery buses onto the streets of Oxford – the first of which have already gone into service, Go-Ahead states.

Go-Ahead had just been celebrating 10 years of electric bus operation in London: the company operates 520 zero emission buses on behalf of TfL and expects to increase this number to 1,000 by the end of 2026 – account for almost half the company’s fleet. According to plans, Go-Ahead’s entire fleet of 5,000 UK buses will be converted to zero emission vehicles by 2035. It’s just one of the pillars of the company’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2045.

At the moment the company is investigating investigating causes of a e-bus fire in Wimbledon, London. The fleet has been removed from service “as a precaution”.

oxford go ahead electric buses

A partnership behind future Oxford electric bus fleet

It has been funded via a collaboration between Oxfordshire County Council, Go-Ahead’s Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach. The Council was awarded £32.8M from the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme and contributed £6M directly, while bus operators invested £43.7M.

Oxford Bus Company (belonging to Go-Ahead) will deliver 104 electric buses into service and Stagecoach 55. In preparation for launch, Oxford Bus Company has electrified its Cowley House depot, turning it into one of the biggest electric bus charging stations in Britain – with each charging point providing enough electricity for buses to drive up to 200 miles per day.

oxford go ahead electric buses

Matt Carney, CEO of The Go-Ahead Group’s bus division, said: “Go-Ahead is proud to be the largest operator of zero emission buses in Britain. Electric buses make an enormous difference to air quality in cities and by decarbonising our fleet in towns and cities across the country, we aim to make a positive contribution to the fight against climate change. These new buses in Oxford will form Go-Ahead’s biggest fleet of zero emission buses outside London. The project is an example of bus operators working closely with local authorities to deliver for communities”.

Luke Marion, Oxford Bus Company Managing Director, said: “This is a historic moment in our journey towards transforming our city services to electric. Our first tranche of electric buses is now in service, and are already starting to improve air quality and make bus travel an even more attractive option for people to travel around Oxford. Decarbonising buses is an exciting project – and we have demonstrated that with the right strategic partnership working between the public and private sector, we can unlock investment to make it happen. We look forward to working with Oxfordshire County Council on important initiatives going forward to encourage people to travel by bus.”

Highlights

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