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By Matthew Bates 13/06 Updated: 14/06 13:11
ELECTRIC buses have been launched in Coventry - the first of their kind in the UK.
The trio of single-deckers were launched by Travel De Courcey today (Wednesday) as part of a £1 million innovation.
Government minister Norman Baker met with bosses from the company and city council at the park and ride service in War Memorial Park.
The zero-emission vehicles are powered by more than 200 hi-tech batteries, which can be fully charged in 40 minutes to transport up to 40 passengers at a time from the south and into the centre of the city.
Charging points at the Kenilworth Road park enable all three buses to run at peak times, with batteries being re-charged overnight at the firm's main depot in Rowley Drive, Coventry.
Managing director Mike de Courcey said: "Coventry is the birthplace of the British car and cycle industry and we are delighted to be creating another transport first for the city as part of our desire to be at the forefront of our industry.
"The launch of the electric buses marks one of the most significant developments in the 40-year history of Travel de Courcey and highlights our commitment to pioneer innovative and green technology for the benefit of our passengers and the environment."
The project was also part-funded by the government’s Green Bus Fund, Centro, CENEX and Coventry City Council and involved two years of research and development.
Government transport chief Mr Baker said: "The West Midlands is in the vanguard of a green transport revolution which will mean better journeys for passengers, less noise and air pollution and lower carbon emissions.
"I congratulate Centro and Travel de Courcey for their forward thinking approach which will pay dividends for their passengers and for the environment."
Coun Lynnette Kelly, the council's head of city development, added: "The city is proud of its growing reputation for low carbon transport and the launch of the new service shows how the city is taking a lead role in innovation and environmental matters.
"It is one of a number of high profile projects that puts Coventry in the national limelight."
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