Kent County Council signs deal for 28 electric buses


Kent County Council (KCC) has announced it will be deploying a fleet of 28 electric buses within the year, following an extension of a contract with Kent Thameside Fastrack service for 15 years.

From November 2024 to April 2025, the fleet of electric buses will replace the existing diesel-powered vehicles on the route that covers Dartford and Gravesham.

On-street electric vehicle charging points for the buses are to be provided by VEV, while Irizar manufacture the chosen ie-Tram buses which will be operated by Go Ahead London on a day-to-day basis.

KCC’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Neil Baker said: “This is an exciting time for users of our Kent Thameside Fastrack service as we upgrade our fleet to new electric models.

“With the added security of a 15-year contract, passengers can be confident that this service is here to stay.”

Go-Ahead London's Managing Director, David Cutts said: "We are delighted to welcome the Kent Fastrack network into our portfolio and intend to provide a high-quality user experience from a dedicated facility in Dartford.

“As the UK's biggest and most innovative Zero-Emission bus operator, with around 535 electric vehicles in service across the capital, we look forward to applying over a decade's decarbonisation expertise in Kent.”

Managing Director of Irizar e-mobility, Iñigo Etxeberria said: “We are delighted that our electric bus technology has been chosen for Kent County Council’s Fastrack BRT network. This is a clear testament to the confidence placed in our products and proof of our quality and reliability.

“KCC is investing heavily in sustainable public transport solutions, and we are honoured to be part of this exciting project. We are committed to continuous improvement and this unique operation will let our company deliver the first ultra-fast charging bus routes for Kent County Council.”

VEV’s CEO, Mike Nakrani said: "We are thrilled to be working with Kent County Council to build the charging infrastructure for Fastrack Electric. The council were clear that the charging solution could not impact the bus rapid transit (BRT) schedule and it had to work within the space and power constraints at the depot. The innovative pantograph chargers provided the solution, safely charging away from the depot while passengers board.

“This ground-breaking project exemplifies the transformative potential when public and private entities unite to build a greener, more connected future."

Image: Left to right: Mikel Irizar, Irizar Sales Area Manager; Mike Nakrani, VEV CEO;Jacqui Elliott,  KCC MaaS Project Lead; David Robey, KCC Deputy Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport; Andrew Edwards, Go-Ahead Operations Director; Shane Hymers, KCC Fastrack Development Manager; Jose Antonio Sola, Irizar Global Sales Director.