Our new solar-powered bus got a tremendous reception when we had our official launch on Friday 28th April, at our depot in East Brighton:
We were joined by a great number of friends and supporters, and local elected representatives, including the city’s mayor, Pete West:
The media were there in force too, and we were especially pleased to have ITV Meridian along, whose coverage can be accessed here.
The specialist press was also present, and here you can see the extensive piece published by Bus And Coach Buyer.
There was a chance for everyone who turned up to have a ride on the bus and everyone seemed impressed. The interior has been tastefully refurbished and is unrecognisable from the vehicle as it had been. As for the drive, people expecting a milk float (as some still do from electric vehicles) were surprised by both the smooth ride and the impressive acceleration.
The bus is now undergoing trials and awaiting formal clearance to operate as a passenger-carrying vehicle.
There was also a chance to be shot up in the air in a cherry-picker to see the new solar panels that are on the depot roof and that power our new buses, and to have a tour of the depot led by our CEO Tom Druitt.
The bus used to be a regular diesel bus, and has been converted to a 133 kWh electric bus by Magtec in Sheffield. It is powered by a 21kW solar array on the roof of the bus depot, installed by Brighton Energy Coop and part-funded by Viper IT Solutions, Infinity Foods and Buddies Cafe as part of our M&S Energy crowdfunding campaign last autumn.
The party was held at Dotties Cafe, a wonderful social enterprise cafe in East Brighton Park, with fabulous food kindly provided by Higgidy Pies and lemon based cakes and vegan curry from Real Junk Food Project, a fantastic collection of craft beers from Crafted Crate, “Lemony lemonade” from Karma Cola and local award-winning gin from Brighton Gin. Thanks guys, what a treat!