First fully electric public buses in Edinburgh unveiled ahead of launch

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The first fully electric public buses to serve Scotland's capital have been unveiled as part of efforts to cut emissions by more than 40%.

Six Wrightbus StreetAir vehicles will take on a route serving much of central Edinburgh, between Clermiston in the west and Easter Road in Leith.

Lothian's investment of more than £2.7 million in the service comes as the firm aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 42% by 2020.

Richard Hall, managing director, said: "Electric is the future. It's a pretty monumental day for Lothian. Our first electric buses are being launched by the Transport Minister.

"They'll be going out on the road next week with our drivers, showing the customers and visitors to Edinburgh what this great city's all about."

The vehicles, launching on Sunday and operating on the firm's Service 1, can run for up to 130 miles and take three to four hours to fully charge.

Electric buses
Six Wrightbus StreetAir vehicles will take on a route serving much of central Edinburgh (Wullie Marr/PA)

When the buses brake, the energy created will be recovered back to the battery to be used as power for the engine.

Once a further five are added to the fleet in 2018, it will become the first fully-electric route in the city.

Money was made available for the project through Transport Scotland's seventh round of the Scottish Green Bus Fund.

Humza Yousef and Richard Hall
Transport minister Humza Yousef (left) talks with Richard Hall, managing director of Lothian Buses (Wullie Marr/PA)

It was announced on Thursday that £1.4 million had been awarded in the latest round to support the purchase of 47 new buses between four companies.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "This is huge, Lothian is leading the pace with the first fully electric buses here in Edinburgh.

"I'm really delighted for all of us here, the Green Bus Fund (has seen) over £16 million of investment over the seven rounds, over 360 green buses now across Scotland and that's helping us to reduce the harmful CO2 emissions that often the older buses have contributed. So a great day, but this is only the start."

Scotland's first fully electric buses were launched by Stagecoach in Inverness last year.