The New Bus for London Engineering Test Vehicle
at Millbrook today for the press launch with the Mayor
......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)