Transport for London (TfL) recently celebrated the launch of its 1,000th zero-emission bus – a StreetDeck Electroliner that entered service with Metroline at its Edgware garage, manufactured by Wrightbus and equipped with the Voith Electrical Drive System (VEDS). TfL plans to have its entire bus fleet operating with zero emissions by 2034.
The bus operator has already converted 54 of its bus services completely, while another 14 have been partially converted to zero-emission buses. The innovative VEDS is playing a major role in realizing this mobility revolution in the metropolis. “We are proud that this milestone in decarbonized bus transport in London is fitted with Voith technology,” says John Domigan, sales and marketing manager at Voith. Ian Foster, engineering director from Metroline in London, adds: “Metroline has had a long-standing relationship with Voith over many years, and we are extremely pleased that the VEDS is being used in recent vehicle purchases. The benefit of an overarching drive package improves reliability and effective diagnostics.”
At the beginning of September, around 175 buses from various operators in the TfL network were equipped with the VEDS, and firm plans are already in place to add it to other vehicles. In the UK, e-buses with VEDS are also operating in many other cities and regions, including Belfast, Leicester and Liverpool, and in the Midlands around Birmingham.
Voith has been producing the VEDS since 2021. The drive concept has an excellent track record in numerous deployments in the bus segment worldwide. In what is an integrated system approach, the VEDS combines a water-cooled permanent magnet motor with an inverter and control software. This means that in the VEDS, all system components are perfectly matched to one another from the very outset, from the hardware components like electric motor, traction inverter and high-voltage distribution system to software components like drive control and energy management. Other auxiliary components are available as an option. In addition, the compact design of the VEDS makes it particularly light, which significantly reduces energy consumption in operation and extends vehicle range.
In recent years, London has made strenuous efforts to combat pollution in the country’s largest city. For example, during his period of office as Lord Mayor, Boris Johnson announced plans to turn the city center into an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Since its implementation in 2019, vehicles that do not meet the Euro-4 standard (for petrol engines) or Euro-6 (for diesel) must pay a charge to use the roads in the city center. Under Johnson’s successor Sadiq Khan, the ULEZ was massively extended at the end of August 2023. The aim is to encourage people to make greater use of public transport. In conjunction, the switch to zero-emission buses was also intensified.