WOKING Community Transport (WCT) has received the first two of the 18 new eDeliver 9 fully electric vehicles which it expects to secure over the next few months.

The vehicles – adding to the organisation’s Bustler fleet – will be a combination of fully accessible, with passenger lifts, and standard minibuses.

WCT was the first organisation in the UK to receive the original LDV EV80 electric minibus, which it has operated on its dial-a-ride service over the past three years.

It is again pioneering, by being the first to put into service the eDeliver 9 minibus. The vehicles have been converted by GM Coachwork and delivered in time for Christmas.

These first two vehicles will undergo extensive testing in the coming months and be used to transport NHS patients and schoolchildren.

WCT chief executive and managing 
director Guy Padfield-Wilkins said: “The eDeliver 9 is the next generation EV, which will be able to operate on any of our routes, whether that be dial-a-ride, NHS patient transport or home to school, to name but a few.

“The specification we have selected has an extra-high roof and an 88kw battery, capable of providing over 200 miles of range on a single charge.”

The eDeliver 9 is critical to the goal of operating a zero-emission fleet before 2030.

WCT has wholly financed the first two vehicles but hopes to partner with Surrey County Council and Woking Borough Council for future vehicles and the infrastructure to support the charging of the vehicles.

It is estimated that the combined CO2, carbon footprint, saving from replacing 18 diesel vehicles with fully electric would be some 140,000 kilogrammes a year.

WCT completes substantially more than 100,000 passenger journeys annually. Core services include dial-a-ride, which covers transportation for social inclusion, hospital and doctor appointments, and shopping, special needs school transport, and transport to special needs centres, including for dementia and autism.

It also provides services on behalf of the NHS, including patient transport.