One of the UK’s biggest electric bus fleets outside London was celebrated when councillors and transport company officials gathered for a launch.

The event, held at Divinity School on Monday evening (January 15) marked the beginning of the £82.5 million project which will deliver 159 new battery-powered buses and two electric charging hubs at the city’s bus depots.

The scheme has been funded via a collaboration between Oxfordshire County Council and bus operators and from the Government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme. Oxfordshire was one of 12 local authorities to successfully apply for ZEBRA funding.

Oxford Bus Company will deliver 104 electric buses into service and Stagecoach 55. Working with electrification specialist Zenobē, Oxford Bus Company has installed 104 charging points at its Cowley House depot, while Stagecoach has installed 55 at the Network Oxford site.

The charging hubs, powered by EDF Energy’s Oxford Superhub network, can charge all 159 buses, enough for each bus to travel up to 200 miles per day.

To celebrate the historic development key stakeholders gathered for a launch event at Divinity School in Oxford city centre on Monday night where some of the new electric buses were showcased and key representatives delivered speeches.

Luke Marion, Oxford Bus Company managing director, said: “This is a historic moment in our journey towards transforming our city services to electric. Our first tranche of electric buses is now in service and are already starting to improve air quality and make bus travel an even more attractive option for people to travel around Oxford.

Cllr Andrew Gant, cabinet member for transport management for Oxfordshire County Council, said: I’m proud and thrilled that the county council is backing its ambitions with political and financial capital, alongside our partners, to deliver a safer, cleaner, greener, better county for residents and visitors.

“Together with policies such as traffic filters to hugely increase bus efficiency, we are delivering on our vision of a better future. This is an exciting and important moment for us all.”

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