Building a Greener Fleet
Improving fuel efficiency
Our 4,600 buses are responsible for around 30% of the Group’s carbon emissions. In 2009 we launched a fuel efficient driving programme which included fitting all our buses with engine monitoring technology, including an 'in cab' prompt which notifies the driver if they are not driving in an efficient way.
Data collected from the black box is monitored and analysed back in the office and our drivers are ranked on a green, amber and red basis – green representing the most efficient drivers.
Our bus drivers are a key element to the making the programme a success. To help motivate employees, operating companies run competitions and schemes to reward drivers.
The scheme has been particularly successful in our London bus operations where fuel efficiency has improved by over 10%.
We have also introduced engine idle shut-down systems to reduce fuel wastage and minimise emissions.
As a result of this scheme, fuel efficiency (mpg) has improved by 3% since 2007/08. On a like-for -like basis we would have expected the improvement to be around 7%, but the impact of newer heavier vehicles, which are less fuel efficient, has impacted the results. The 3% improvement since 2007/08 equates to total cost saving of around £6m (split c.£2m over the last three years). The cost of fitting all our buses with telemetry technology was about £3m, so the net saving to date is c.£3m.
Go-Ahead was one of the first transport Groups to introduce hybrid buses into its fleet. Over recent years we have significantly increased the number of hybrid buses in operation and more than 30 of these are in Oxford Bus Company, taking the proportion of hybrid buses in their fleet to 31 per cent - one of the highest in the country.
Hybrid buses are significantly more environmentally friendly than conventional buses. Traction power is supplied by either a small diesel engine or a 600 volt battery working either independently or together. Stop/start technology further reduces fuel consumption, meaning that hybrid buses can use up to 30% less fuel than a conventional diesel bus. The technology also reduces exhaust emissions by up to 50%. Hybrid buses are also very quiet when in operation – reducing noise pollution and improving the customer experience.
Currently hybrid buses are around three times more expensive than conventional buses. Government financial support is made available through the Green Bus Fund which subsidises the cost of hybrids for operators. The industry is working together with the Government and manufactures to try and bring down production costs.
Go-Ahead is constantly looking at ways to improve fuel efficiency, to minimise our impact on the environment and reduce cost. Together with Williams Hybrid Power (WHP), we have introduced a flywheel energy storage application for use on buses. Originally developed for Formula One, the flywheel is an energy storage system that improves fuel efficiency and reduces carbon emissions. Six Go-Ahead buses have been fitted with the innovative WHP flywheel technology, delivering up to 20% fuel savings and reducing carbon emissions.
This collaborative project between WHP and Go-Ahead won a Low Carbon Champion Award during the financial year, for its strong contribution to reducing road transport emissions. The judges recognised the potential in the initiative for mass market hybridisation of public transport to become a tangible reality.
An industry first
We’re constantly looking at ways to improve fuel efficiency and so, together with Williams Hybrid Power (WHP), have introduced a flywheel energy storage application for use on buses. Originally developed for Formula One, the flywheel is an energy storage system that improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. Six Go-Ahead hybrid buses have been fitted with WHP flywheel technology delivering up to 20 % fuel savings and reducing CO2 emissions. Other benefits include the fact they take up less space and weigh less than conventional batteries and also cost as much as a third less. And they’re more durable than conventional batteries - able to ‘continuously deep cycle’ at high power for the lifetime of the vehicle (around 20 years).
This collaborative project between WHP and Go-Ahead won a Low Carbon Champion Award for its strong contribution to reducing road transport emissions. The judges recognised the potential for mass market hybridisation of public transport to become a tangible reality.
Jonathan Murray, Deputy Director of the LowCVP said; ”Williams Hybrid Power have shown true leadership by taking Formula One technology and, working with Go-Ahead Group, applying it successfully to deliver emissions and efficiency savings in buses.”
WHP Head of Bus Systems, Frank Thorpe, Head of Bus Systems for Williams Hybrid Power, added: “Energy efficiency is an important issue for Williams and initiatives such as this demonstrates how Formula One based technology can play a key role in helping to tackle an important global issue.’’
Go-Ahead Group Engineering Director Phil Margrave, explains that the trial with six buses initially may be extended to other vehicles: “Fuel consumption savings and the price of fuel are important factors to take into account… if the installation payback time is less than five years we could consider retrofitting flywheels onto older buses
Ian Foley, WHP’s MD recognised that Go-Ahead is a forward-looking business keen to use new technology where it will add value: "Public transport is an ideal customer for this technology and Go-Ahead the perfect partner with which to work on delivering this innovative solution."
Go-Ahead is leading the way in the industry by introducing the first carbon-neutral buses in the UK to its fleet. Thirteen Go-Ahead Anglian EcoCity buses entered service in November 2012. The buses are fuelled by biogas – a renewable energy source produced from waste materials. These gas operated engines vibrate less than conventional ones, resulting in less air pollution, noise and a smoother and more pleasant journey for passengers. A wider national roll out of these vehicles would reduce the need for liquid fuel deliveries, decreasing the number of vehicles on the roads and minimising the risk of oil spillages. Go-Ahead’s high profile buses were used to carry visitors during a royal visit by HRH The Prince of Wales to a renewable gas plant in Poundbury, Dorset.
In another industry first, the Group will become the first operator in the UK to run purely electric 12 metre single deck vehicles in London, following an agreement between Go-Ahead, BYD China and Transport for London.
In addition, Go-Ahead is the first operator in England to run buses on bio methane fuel, following the delivery of 13 ‘MAN EcoCity’ gas buses in November 2012. These buses also use around 30% less fuel than traditional diesel buses.
Anglian's Gas Buses
The first carbon-neutral buses in the UK are now on the road being used across Norwich, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. Thirteen Go-Ahead Anglian EcoCity buses are fuelled by biogas delivered by pipeline from an anaerobic digestion plant. This means an end to liquid fuel deliveries, reducing the number of vehicles on the road and the chance of oil spillages.
Go-Ahead has invested in a gas dispensing unit at Anglian's Beccles headquarters to fuel the buses. Biogas is a renewable energy source produced from biodegradable waste materials such as food, crop residue and slurry.
Gas operated engines vibrate less than conventional ones, making journeys smoother for passengers and quieter and local residents and other road users will appreciate there’s no unpleasant exhaust smells.
The high profile buses were used to carry visitors during a royal call by HRH The Prince of Wales to a renewable gas plant in Poundbury, Dorset.
Managing Director Andrew Pursey said he was excited about the project: “It’s already stimulated a lot of interest from other bus operators and organisations across the country who are watching with interest. Not only do these buses represent the greenest solution to public transport by road in the country, but we are convinced over time they will be one of the most cost effective”.G
o-Ahead is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 20 per cent per passenger journey by 2015 and has achieved a 14 per cent reduction to date. The Group focuses on a range of initiatives under the ‘Driving Energy Further’ initiative to achieve this, including: the introduction of regenerative braking and meters on train fleets; bus and train driver training and the installation of Mix Telematics to measure driving efficiency; as well as strong targets for site energy reduction and improved staff engagement to ensure good practice to reduce waste and energy consumption.