Wednesday, October 26 2016

An electric future for The Big Lemon

A city bus company has launched a fundraising drive to purchase three electric buses – but it needs help from the community.

Tom Druitt, founder of the Big Lemon Bus Company, a fleet of yellow buses that run on recycled cooking oil and offer cheap fares on routes dominated by students. Brighton, Sussex, England. Photo: Alec Kingham, M & Y Media

Tom Druitt, founder of the Big Lemon Bus Company

Tom Druitt, the managing director of The Big Lemon – and a Green city councillor – announced the move this week. He said: “Since our launch in 2007 over a million passenger journeys have been made on The Big Lemon and we have used over half a million litres of waste cooking oil and saved 900 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the process. In 2016 our aim is to take it to the next level and run bus services on electricity from renewable sources. No emissions, no carbon footprint.”

Although The Big Lemon uses fuel from waste cooking oil, it does have a fleet of biodiesel buses, which produce high-levels of nitrous oxide. These are the buses he wants to replace with eco-friendly electric vehicles. But electric buses are expensive – about £250,000 each.

The company has applied for a government grant to help fund three of these buses, but in order to get the first one, The Big Lemon needs to raise £100,000. To reach the target, it has released 1,000 community bonds at £100.

The two-year fixed rate community bonds would have an interest rate of six per cent a year – so if you invest £100, in two years’ time, you get £112.36 back.

Mr Druitt said: “As a community-owned local business we are asking the people of Brighton and Hove to get on board and invest in this project, to improve air quality in the city and make a healthy profit on your investment at the same time.”

Andrew Boag from Brighton and Hove Buswatch, said: “Brighton Area Buswatch welcomes this bid which will make a significant contribution to improving air quality in the city.”

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