Harrogate's cutting-edge electric bus fleet powered by diesel generator

Alex Hornby (right) Chief Executive of Transdev with some of the new electric buses when they were launched back in July.
Alex Hornby (right) Chief Executive of Transdev with some of the new electric buses when they were launched back in July.

Harrogate’s “trailblazing” fleet of electric buses is currently being powered by a diesel generator as the company struggles with infrastructure issues during the rollout of the ambitious upgrade.

The Harrogate Bus Company unveiled their fleet of eight electric buses in July, announcing a five year vision of making Harrogate a low emission bus town.

Funding for the fleet came in the form of a £2.25 million grant from the Government’s Low Emission Bus Scheme, with the company chipping in £1.7 million itself.

However, more than three months later, the fleet is being charged by a low-emission diesel generator at their Station Parade base.
In a statement, general manager for The Harrogate Bus Company Keith Roebuck said the generator was a “short term interim measure” for use while the company worked through a “red-tape infrastructure issue”.

Mr Roebuck conceded it was not the “ideal scenario”, but said they were working towards a permanent solution.
“We were expecting to come up against challenges, as inevitably we would as trailblazers of brand new technology,” Mr Roebuck said.

“We’re working hard to resolve the red-tape infrastructure issue which is preventing us from using the electric chargers as we had planned.

“Once we have resolved the issue, the chargers will be fuelled by a renewable energy contract ensuring that the buses are truly zero emission.

“As a short term interim measure we have installed a low-emission generator to enable us to put our 100 per cent electric buses on local services, taking 10 diesel buses off the road.

“It’s not the ideal scenario, but a plan B whilst we’re working hard to make plan A work. With one engine replacing ten, Harrogate is greener for it, but will be even greener once the work is completed.”

A Northern Powergrid spokeswoman confirmed the power company would be able to supply the required capacity to power the fleet from the three charging masts at the bus station.
“We’ve worked closely with The Harrogate Bus Company, their chosen independent connection provider and independent distribution network operator to make available a connection and the required capacity to help transform Harrogate into Britain’s first low emission bus town,” the spokeswoman said.

Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service