Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry launches electric bus services

Media captionEmma Simpson reports

Electric buses that can be charged in 30 minutes are being launched in Coventry later.

The three vehicles, owned by family firm Travel De Courcey, will operate park and ride routes in the city.

The £1m scheme has been part-funded by the government and transport minister Norman Baker is due to launch the buses at lunchtime.

Coventry City Council said it was the first rapid recharge system to operate in the UK.

Owner Mike De Courcey said the 30 minutes recharge time, thanks to recent advances in battery technology, made the services "viable".

Previously, similar electric vehicles would have taken six to seven hours to charge, he said.

The new buses, which can carry up to 40 passengers at a time, also recharge their batteries under braking, similar to technology used in Formula 1 cars.

Mr De Courcey said each bus would save about £120 per day in fuel.

Despite that, he described them as "a gamble", saying that if the 200 batteries lasted less than the expected five years "it won't pay off".

The buses, which are expected to operate in the city from next week, have also been part funded by Coventry City Council, Cenex and Centro.

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