Daniel ButlerHawkes, energy solutions officer at Jersey Electricity, looks at the potential for a greener public transport network.
IF you have been out and about this week, you may have seen an unfamiliar-looking bus on the Island’s roads.
This green bus has been trialling several of the LibertyBus routes as part of the company’s commitment to exploring more eco-friendly transport solutions.
As well as assessing the zero-emission vehicle’s suitability for Jersey’s narrow roads, the trials will enable the bus operator to gauge the bus, a Yutong E9, in terms of energy consumption and charging requirements.
A similar trial of an electric bus in 2019 led the company to conclude that, while there was still lots of development going on with electric vehicles, they were not yet able to cope with the Island’s unique challenges.
As that development has gathered pace, the bus seen locally this week can complete more than 195 miles on a single charge, while its 255kWh batteries are capable of being fully charged within two hours.
And it is not only in the public-transport sector that technology has advanced, as EV manufacturers respond to a growing demand for such vehicles.
Indeed, a report by mapping service Zap-Map said that, in December 2022, 42,000 pure-electric vehicles were sold in the UK, a figure which meant that, for the first time, EV sales outstripped those of petrol cars.
Locally, JE has not only identified more sites where charge points can be installed but has also future-proofed the existing network, making it quick and easy to ‘upgrade’ facilities as necessary to ensure that it remains at the forefront of this exciting technology.
As well as taking advantage of emerging technology to enhance services, the future could see the development of charging hubs – akin to those opening in the UK – which would enable people to add a social element to the charging process.
This is already happening to an extent at The Powerhouse and El Tico where people are plugging in their cars and then enjoying a coffee with friends, recharging their own batteries at the same time.