|BYD1472 Electric bus at Willesden Garage
|Top deck of the electric bus
When I travelled on a single deck version a couple of years ago I bizarrely described it as "a tram on wheels". I knew what I meant though, a tram with a steering wheel would have been a better description. The double deck version feels like a tube train with a steering wheel, and sounds like it too - you go on one of the Northern Line trains and you have the right soundtrack. The doors on the decker are very noisy, not the action but the doors themselves crash and bang oen and shut. Acceleration is phenomenal though - I doubt there is a faster accelerating bus around and it must be said the brakes are smoother than any new bus I've been on for ages. It only appears to have one gear so no jerky gear changes either.
|Rear view of BYD1472
|Ready to return to Central London
Exterior appearance: 2 - nothing modern about the look
Interior design and comfort: 2 - cheap plastic and uncomfortable seats
Ride quality: 4 - very bumpy and suspension negligible
Acceleration: 10 - just wow
Brakes: 9 - smoothest brakes around on new bus
Soundtrack: 8 - far better than expected
Build Quality: 1 - this will be rattling no end in weeks
Feel Good Factor: 5 - give this bus a better body and it would be much nicer to ride on
That gives an average rating of 5.125 out of 10 and that's about fair I think. Its good points are really good and its bad points are awful. One thing I can't get out of my head though. When these buses first arrived I watched a publicity video where a chap from TfL proudly stated that "older passengers will think they are riding a 1950's trolleybus". That's not exactly progress and I can't really see an electric revolution coming. Yes no emissions but what is the cost of charging these things. The emissions are still created somewhere. And why spend Lord knows how many millions developing these buses when you could just bring back trolleybuses - trams on tyres - and be done with it. We were stuck in the same jams after all.
As a concept it's good, it's a start, but just as Edison's first lightbulb won't have lit up Wembley Stadium I very much doubt these BYD electric buses will light up the bus industry. Who knows what might spawn from them though.