Buses on Tyneside are to be turned into green machines thanks to Formula One technology coupled with a Government grant.
Newcastle and Sunderland City Councils have received £472,000 after putting together a successful bid to The Clean Vehicle Technology Fund on behalf of the North East Combined Authority.
It will pay for modifications to public service vehicles that will reduce by 25% the amount of exhaust fumes emitted into the air in our towns and cities.
The cash will help adapt a fleet of 30 buses belonging to Go North East who are also putting over £600,000 into the project.
The vehicles will operate from Newcastle city centre to Blyth in the North and Sunderland in the south.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun Nick Forbes, who has lead responsibility for transport on the North East Combined Authority, said: “This investment means the North East leads the way on introducing greener vehicles onto our local roads.
“The new technology will improve fuel efficiency while reducing exhaust emissions which means less pollution in the atmosphere and cleaner air for everyone.
“This is an imaginative project which will bring real health benefits while supporting skilled jobs in environmental technologies and boosting economic growth.”
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Paul Watson added: “Working together with our local government and regional partners, we are continuing the technological and infrastructure developments needed to reduce emissions and improve our environment and air quality.
“This latest funding acknowledges the progress being made in our region, and adds to the significant investments we have all made to encouraging and creating a more sustainable and effective transport system.”
The innovative Gyrodrive system is based on Formula One race technology developed in the UK. It will help increase the efficiency of each bus by using less fuel and thereby reducing carbon emissions. This same technology helped Audi’s R18 e-tron win at Le Mans in June this year.
The system uses a high speed flywheel made of carbon fibre to store the energy generated by a bus as it slows down to stop. It then uses the stored energy to power an electric motor which helps accelerate the bus back up to speed, generating fuel savings of more than 20%.
Kirk Trewin, chief engineer at Go North East, said: “The Go-Ahead Group has collaborated with GKN Hybrid Power to develop this innovative technology.
“These hybrid conversions will see an important reduction in nitrogen dioxide and CO2 emissions on some of the busiest bus corridors across Tyne and Wear and in to Northumberland.”
Go North East will fit the system to its modern ‘Cobalt Clipper’ and ‘Fab 56’ double deck buses starting in March next year.