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Helping Red Buses Go Green

Hybrid technology from Siemens helps London’s famous double-decker buses save a considerable amount of energy and become more environmentally-friendly.

Initial Situation

London has one of the world’s largest urban bus networks. On weekdays, more than six million passengers travel on the red buses to reach their destinations in the capital.

Customer Challenges

Traffic in the Greater London area is becoming increasingly denser – leading to environmental concerns, such as noise and air pollution. Environmentally-friendly technology is needed to reduce transport emissions, improve air quality and meet increasing mobility needs at the same time.

Our Solution

The modular ELFA hybrid drive system from Siemens allows city buses to be both environmentally-friendly and low in energy consumption. The system combines a combustion engine with an electric drive. Whenever the driver steps on the brakes, the energy that would otherwise be lost as heat is fed into an electrical storage system. As a city bus is constantly braking and starting, this is particularly beneficial.

The first London double-decker bus with hybrid drive technology from Siemens went into operation in 2008 on route 141 to London Bridge. Many more have followed over the years and their number is set to increase: Contracts handed out for many new routes stipulate the exclusive use of hybrid buses. Compared to conventional diesel city buses, the hybrid double-deckers release 40 percent fewer emissions into the environment and save up to 30 percent in fuel. Since they drive very quietly and accelerate without jerk, they also increase passenger comfort.