Oxford’s first electric bus service will begin with 21 Wrightbus electric buses branded in partnership with Oxford Brookes University. The new Brookes bus fleet is owned and run by Oxford Bus Company, where the StreetDeck Electroliners from Wrightbus will replace an existing fleet of diesel buses.
According to Northern Island-based bus maker Wrightbus, the new electric buses can travel 300 miles (around 483 kilometres) on a full charge. The buses can charge in approximately three and a half hours with charging equipment provided and installed by Zenobe at Oxford Bus Company’s Crawley depot.
Zenobē’s latest partnership with Oxford Bus Company, a subsidiary of GoAhead Group, is part of the plan to install 104 bus charging points as part of its recent ZEBRA-funded rollout of electric buses. Last year, the Oxford Bus Company ordered 104 electric buses from Wrightbus, including five single and 99 all-electric double-decker buses. Eight double-decker buses will have an open top and can be used as sightseeing buses.
The vehicles have been branded in partnership with Oxford Brookes University and were unveiled at the University’s Headington Campus. They will benefit not only students and staff but the local community and visitors to the city.
At the launch event, Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes, said: “We recognise the critical role that the BROOKESbus service plays for students, staff and the city’s community and visitors. In 2022, for instance, we amalgamated the service with some of Oxford’s local Park and Ride Services and provided a much-needed bus route from Blackbird Leys to the University.”
The fleet of electric buses in Oxford will come from renewable sources. The new buses will emit an artificial sound while travelling at low speeds for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists since electric buses are virtually silent compared to the more familiar diesel buses used until now.
Oxford is moving forward with the electrification of city transport with a number of different measures. Last year, Oxford City Council launched the UK’s first ‘Zero Emission Zone’ (ZEZ), meaning daily charges on drivers of all petrol and diesel vehicles as well as hybrid cars. The English city sports electric vehicle manufacturing with a factory for Mini cars, as well as an electric vehicle charging hub with 42 charging points. In 2021, Oxford City Council funded ultra-low emission taxis.