London to start trialling wirelessly charged buses

Enviro400H E400 London Bus

While London's public transport network is getting more hi-tech by the minute, the city's buses and trains aren't as green as they could be -- at least not yet. Transport for London (TfL) has already deployed 800 hybrid and a handful of all-electric buses on the capital's streets, but keeping them charged isn't easy when they're miles from a depot. In a bid to keep them running as efficiently as possible, TfL has kicked off a new trial that will see inductive charging stations built into four east London bus stops, allowing its Enviro400H E400 hybrid buses to charge wirelessly while they pick up passengers.

Once TfL has completed the necessary installations, the charging system will be tested on electric hybrid buses traveling route 69 (for locals, that's between Canning Town and Walthamstow) from next year. Topping up at regular intervals means they can run for longer using only their batteries (instead of falling back onto diesel power), which reduces their running costs and impact on the environment. TfL says the trial will allow it to gauge whether wireless charging can stand up to the pressure of powering buses full of tourists and commuters across the whole city.

[Image credit: wirewiping, Flickr]