- George Poland
Are we ready for electric, or does diesel still make sense?
Electric, Hybrid or Euro 6 Diesel? Let Bridle Minibus help you decide.
For those schools operating in or near to an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), one of the criteria when choosing your next vehicle will now be what fuel type you select for the replacement vehicle.
Many 8 to 14 seat minibuses now have the option of an electric power train, with more manufacturers joining this market regularly.
Battery range realistically will be 80-120 miles from a full charge (depending on the vehicle chosen). Range anxiety will be a factor but with most schools doing no more than between 5 and 50 miles per day, this is unlikely to be an issue.
The fully electric vehicles are expensive by comparison to hybrid and then diesel options, however running costs on fuel and maintenance figures should be comparably cheaper (depending on use and mileage) making the overall costs very attractive.
Bridle Minibus can help you evaluate what will be best for your school by using a simple financial modelling tool. Please get in touch if you would like us to illustrate the differences for you.
There are also scrappage schemes available – see below for more information.
In the 7/9 to 12 seat vehicle range there is now a lot more choice in alternative fuel types.
Diesel Mild Hybrids in the Ford range use a larger battery than traditional diesel vehicles and this allows for a greater range of engine “start stop” functionality when pausing at junctions, and even when cruising up to a junction or traffic lights. The longer the engine is switched off during the journey, the greater the fuel economy and lower the overall emissions.
Plug-in Petrol Electric Hybrids are making their appearance in the 8/9 seater market. The larger battery will enable up to circa 30 miles of electric only range. This is great for short, low speed hops and keeping the emissions down.
These vehicles also offer no range anxiety because the petrol engine will engage when unable to run on battery power alone.
Type: Euro 6 Diesel
Diesel is still the most popular fuel type for school minibuses, albeit there is very little alternate for those running 15-17 seat minibuses.
The advantages of diesel is that a euro 6 version and later will be a lot cleaner than previous versions, with the level of filtration and additives (Ad Blue) ensuring the emissions are within ever tighter legal limits.
With a diesel you can just start up and go without worrying about battery life and unhooking from the mains and tidying cables away.
There’s no range anxiety either – its much easier to “put some diesel in” and carry on.
There are some downsides to diesel – It is seen as “old” technology and some schools are keen to look to new and sustainable fuels and to be part of the drive for change.
Low mileage and short journeys are not ideal now for diesel engines with the diesel particulate filters (DPFs) at greater risk of clogging up and sending the vehicle into “limp home” mode and thereafter requiring a reset. This also encourages schools to drive their minibuses on longer high revving extra journeys just to try and keep the filters clean.
London Scrappage Scheme
If you operate in and around London there is some financial help available for those schools looking to update their minibuses to ULEZ complaint vehicles.
One option is £7,000 towards the purchase or lease of a Euro 6 replacement. Another is a £9,500 contribution towards running costs (including insurance) of an electric vehicle.
There are conditions and qualifications required but we would be happy to discuss these in more detail with you.
If you are thinking about changing your minibus to a clean diesel or electric or electric/hybrid please do get in touch, we would be delighted to help.