Electric Bus for Route 358

TfL have announced details of the technology involved in replacing the 358 bus from Crystal Palace to Orpington with an electric bus with overhead recharging units ("pantographs") at either end of the route.  This will be the first route in London to use this technology.  

In a presentation to Bromley Council on 1 September, TfL shared details of this most welcome initiative - the cost of which is being entirely covered by TfL.   With zero emissions, this will be a really significant contribution to improving the air quality in Bromley, particularly as the 358 travels through some of the parts of the borough with the poorest air quality.  

As part of their work towards a zero emission bus network by 2037, TfL are planning to use "big battery" electric buses on 80% of their routes - interestingly one of the first routes to use these buses will be the 160 that goes through Chislehurst.   But this technology doesn't work on long routes like the 358 - which covers 15 miles (all of the route is in the Bromley Borough).  

So the solution is to use the technology known as opportunity charging route with pantographs - essentially a recharging unit where the bus recharges during the layovers at each end of the route (rather than the "big battery" buses that recharge at the depot overnight).  This technology is already in use at e.g. Birmingham Airport or at Aix-En-Prevence (the photo shown is of the Provence system).  

For timing TFL expect to start testing the buses in Autumn 2022 and that buses will be operational from early 2023.