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Friday, 27 May 2011

Silver dream machine

The New Bus for London Engineering Test Vehicle
at Millbrook today for the press launch with the Mayo
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......is how the Evening Standard described the first showing of the New Bus for London Engineering Test Vehicle at Millbrook Proving Ground today.

The bus is structurally complete but is full of test equipment. It is also unpainted which makes it a bit of a patchwork quilt of silver panels and GRP. There is a hinged front door (some asked if that was a real feature!) and the centre one is painted on! It is really just a plain unglazed panel

The Mayor and I arrived at Millbrook this morning and the press had been taken to a hospitality area on site. We took the NBfL out for some driver familiarisation whereupon Boris Johnson drove it over to the assembled press. After numerous photos and interviews he did a further few circuits for some moving shots.

The new bus is amazingly quiet, smooth and responsive. When I had a drive of it later I was able to experience its exceptional turning circle. The fully finished vehicle, with a proper interior will be even more refined.

The latest hybrid technology is already delivering exceptional fuel economy low emissions and will, for the first time in London, be able to run entirely on battery power if required. The opportunity to do so in areas of congestion and air quality hotspots will be excellent.

Whilst there is a great enthusiasm to get the prototypes on the road we are determined to get some miles on the clock and test the structure using Millbrook's various testing areas. Meantime the construction of the prototypes is underway and the first one will come off the production line in the autumn, with entry into service scheduled for the new year.

We have announced today that Arriva will operate the prototype fleet but we are not yet in a position to confirm the route. Watch this space!

It was amazing to see the NBfL in action and a real credit to all at Team TfL, Wrights and all involved in the project so far.


As you can see (below) the bus is already iconic. Real video footage on YouTube (see below in comments)

http://iamclu.deviantart.com/art/Tron-Bus-190509053

9 comments:

  1. Video footage at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtGP7Nglq4U

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  2. "The latest hybrid technology ... will, for the first time in London, be able to run entirely on battery power if required."
    I don't often see eye to eye with NIMBYs, but I do sympathise with people who live near bus stands and are inevitably affected by bus engine noise late at night. A bus that could switch to silent mode would dramatically improve London Buses relationship with neighbouring residents. One could imagine the silent mode being activated automatically by iBus GPS.

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  3. Great looking vehicle!

    The Telegraph's website article states that the total fleet will be 30-40 vehicles. If I understand correctly that the driver has control over all 3 doors and presumably all viewable by Driver CCTV screen, would it be viable to have all new deckers across London as NBfL's?

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  4. There are half a dozen prototypes and there is no design reason why we couldn't have a fleet of three door crew operated vehicles for the mainstream Central London routes and more conventional two door ones for standard single-person operation

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  5. This Tron-Bus is no good - you can see in through the windows! Trust the driver would be issued with suitable shades before cruising up and down Oxford Street of an evening :-)

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  6. What a ugly bus! And it doesn't even look like a Routemaster at all! Why did Boris need this thing? What's wrong with the current buses being made?

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  7. The new bus looks interesting, I mean it's only a project (or it was), but still it has a strange feeling for it.

    moving company

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  8. Although I would have preferred one of the half cab designs offered up when people were submitting designs for the new bus,the fact that there will be a gradual phasing back in of crew operation and the new bus is an open platform hop-on hop-off can't be a bad thing, not to mention the hybrid technology and fuel efficiency, a trait it inherits from the original Routemasters.

    Maybe a more accurate description of the Borismaster and I'm sure the Mayor will probably be flattered rather than offended by the bus going by this name is child of RM/FRM.

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  9. "What's wrong with the current buses being made?"

    Nothing at all, it's a quite ridiculous vanity project that has absolutely no justification outside electoral PR or any published business case that I've seen - the oft-quoted fuel saving figure (40%) are pretty much the same as the best of the existing hybrid generation, which is a few years behind the times and running in reasonable numbers now, in areas that'll never see an NB4L. If this things's so great I want to see statistics, please - weight, length, drive system manufacturer, engine size, battery capacity - not gibberish telling me that it's 'iconic'. It's up to London if it's iconic or not. The biggest issue is that London's bus policy is being driven by rich people from outside the bus, which is why it's a) expensive and b) entirely concerned with the shape and looks of the vehicle rather than the transport network.

    "the fact that there will be a gradual phasing back in of crew operation and the new bus is an open platform hop-on hop-off can't be a bad thing"

    Yes it can, unless you've forgotten why it was phased out. Bus fares in London are already heading up too fast as it is due to the Mayor's obsession with slashing subsidy without massively inflating the crewing costs. I suspect the second member of staff will therefore spend more time off the bus than on it with the thing running as a two door bus, only longer and with fewer seats, in which case why bother?

    "The Telegraph's website article states that the total fleet will be 30-40 vehicle"

    No new project cash has been authorised beyond the £11.4m last January, so who's paying for them, then? Remember with one manufacturer there's no market competition to drive down prices and you can't throw money at manufacturers without awkward issues of breach of state aid rules coming in at some point.

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