Photo of new electric coach from Flixibus

FlixBus launches trial of first all-electric long-distance coach between England and Wales

Barclay Davies, Bus Users UK’s Director for Wales, shares his thoughts on the brand new electric coach from FlixBus 

FlixBus, in partnership with Newport Bus, recently started a pilot for what it says is the first 100% electric long distance coach service between England and Wales. The zero emission vehicle will be on trial until June 2024 operating FlixBus scheduled services between London, Bristol and Newport.

And so it was that on a cold Monday evening I found myself headed for Hampton Hotel on Bond Street, Bristol to catch the 17:40 service UK041E to Newport. As 17:40 approached, and with no vehicle in sight, I received a notification to check the app and saw my coach travelling along the M32 towards Bristol. It arrived roughly 10 minutes later than scheduled and after the passengers had alighted and collected their cases, I presented my ticket and was welcomed on board to my allocated seat.

View of the app for the new flixibus electric coach      The new flixibus electric coach pulls up in Bristol

 

The vehicle itself, which is light and airy, can seat 46 passengers although there were only five of us on this leg of the journey. The seats are comfortable with reasonable leg room and there’s an on-board toilet, individual overhead light switches, USB charging points and free Wi-Fi (which unfortunately wasn’t working).

Driver's view from the new flixibus electric coach       A Barclay Davies selfie on board the flixibus new electric coach

 

We made good progress and were soon heading along the M4 towards the Prince of Wales Bridge. The drive was incredibly smooth and when braking, the coach comes to a stop without any lurching. It is also extremely quiet, particularly when stationary and especially when compared to my earlier journey to Bristol on a diesel powered coach. The traffic remained free flowing and as we approached Newport the driver reminded us to take our belongings with us and thanked us for travelling with FlixBus. We arrived just three minutes later than scheduled.

The electric vehicle manufactured in China by Yutong has a battery rating of 282kw and between journeys it travels to a depot in Battersea for a full charge. Compared to the average diesel fuelled vehicle, this will save 325kg of carbon emissions per day, a total of 21 tonnes of CO2 over the trial period.

Andreas Schorling, Managing Director of FlixBus said “This is a huge step forward for the UK coach sector. As the first electric long-distance coach service in England and Wales, we’re sending a powerful message about our continued commitment to bring even more sustainable travel options for the public, and our determination to drive forward the change needed to reduce the impact on the climate”.

The coach is genuinely impressive and it’s reassuring that travelling more sustainably doesn’t mean a reduction in passenger comfort. Quite the opposite in fact. It will be interesting to see the results of the trial but as technology moves forward and with continuing developments in charging infrastructure, electric coaches look set to become a common and very welcome feature on our roads.

Bus Users 2024-04-09T11:58:23+01:00