Bus KERS – More hybrids for your money

Hybrid Power to the People: UK bus operators can get more low emission buses for their money


The Low Emission Bus Scheme (LEB), launched earlier this year, is a commitment from Government to make at least £30million available over the next 3 years to support the purchase of new, more fuel-efficient buses. The scheme allows operators to apply for funding towards the add-on cost of low carbon technologies such as hybrid systems, and therefore apply the technology to more of their fleets. Low cost hybridisation options like Torotrak’s award-winning Flybrid technology, at around ¼ the cost of a battery hybrid, can help operators to make their grant money go even further.

Introduced following consultation with the LowCVP (Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership) Bus Working Group, the LEB scheme is the successor to the Green Bus Fund that ran from 2009 – 2013. The grants offered by the new scheme cover a proportion of the additional cost of buying propecia online and hybrid buses compared to standard diesel equivalent buses. The LEB funding scheme aims to be ‘technology neutral’ and encourages operators to use the grant monies for any new low carbon solution.

The Flybrid mechanical kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) for buses is a highly efficient and robust hybrid technology, ideal for the long service life and repeated stop-start duty cycle of public service buses. Using common materials and manufacturing methods, and removing the requirement for replacement batteries during service life, the flywheel-based technology can offer exceptional value, and an opportunity for widespread hybridisation.

It is expected that the already low additional cost of the Flybrid system will qualify for the maximum 75% funding available for this class of technology. This means with contribution from an LEB grant, the Flybrid unit could pay for itself in less than 2 years of normal operation and then go on to save its owner(s) fuel for the rest of its 1,000,000 kilometre (620,000 miles) lifecycle.

Torotrak’s Flybrid technology will be available for delivery in 2016 on the class-leading Wrightbus StreetLite midi bus, already favoured for its lightweight chassis and impressive fuel economy. As the StreetLite slows down, the Flybrid unit transfers energy away from the driveline and stores it in a spinning carbon fibre and steel flywheel; this energy is then released to accelerate the bus and reduce load on the engine.

“We’re hoping that the significant fuel savings and attractive purchase cost of the system, along with the LEB grant opportunity, will open the door to smaller operators, and offer more options to larger ones.” Explains Torotrak CEO, Adam Robson. “This long life, low maintenance hybrid will not only pay for itself quickly, but we hope also deliver good residual value for second-life buses – which is particularly valuable to those who usually lease vehicles.”

Brian Maybin, Engineering Director of Wrights Group, commented: “We’ve been really impressed with the engineering input from Torotrak in developing this product; it’s ideal for our StreetLite models, and we hope it will suit a lot of our customers.”

Grant applications for LEB funding need to be submitted by 31st October 2015, with successful applications being announced in January 2016. Further information on the scheme (including grant calculators and application forms) can be found on the Government guidance site: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/low-emission-bus-scheme