Brighton-based The Big Lemon has created the UK’s first ever zero emissions, solar powered bus, and is one step further along in its mission to “bring zero-emissions electric buses to communities across the UK, all run by the local community and powered by renewable energy”.
The bus, named Om Shanti, used to be a regular diesel bus, and has been converted to a 133 kWh electric bus. It is powered by a solar array, consisting of 80 solar panels, which sits on the roof of the Big Lemon Bus company’s Whitehawk bus depot.
The environmentally friendly bus company has championed renewable energy from its inception. Prior to its move towards an electric fleet powered by the sun, The Big Lemon pioneered a fleet of buses fuelled by cooking oil.
The company has already taken delivery of its first solar bus which will go through rigorous testing before being put to work on the 52 bus route between Woodingdean and Brighton.
It is understood that during the summer the solar array on the depot’s roof would generate more than enough energy for the buses, offices and workshop while returning significant energy back to the grid. In the winter months, it would take more from the grid than it would put in.
Community-run bus companies like The Big Lemon is the future of public transport, according to The Big Lemon co-founder Tom Druitt. The company’s solar powered efforts have been made possible thanks to a crowdfunding campaign which raised more than a quarter of a million pounds.
In an interview with The Argus newspaper, Tom Druitt said: “We [The Big Lemon] had no money when we started and the whole thing has been made possible by people supporting the project, investing in it, and getting the message out there.
“Now we have done this in Brighton and Hove, we are thinking where else can we do this? We have shown you don’t actually need money to run a community bus company, you just need a whole lot of people to believe in it.”
The Big Lemon is already looking to add to its fleet. A second vehicle is to be delivered to their depot, and they are already looking at raising funds to convert a third bus to electric.
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, music and arts. Rosalind also works as a counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com