A NORTH Yorkshire bus manufacturer is playing a part in creating the largest double-decker electric bus fleet in Europe.

Last week the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced the creation of the record fleet with 68 new electric double-deckers set to take to London’s roads.

Mr Khan revealed that the number of electric double-deck buses in London will increase more than tenfold, and that two routes run by Metroline from Barnet to central London will be exclusively operated by electric double-decker buses.

Selby-based Optare has won the deal to supply 31 all-electric double deck buses for TFL Route 134 running from North Finchley bus station to Tottenham Court Road to start operation next summer.

The firm’s Metrodecker EV model has been developed from the wheels up by Optare with support from its customers, vendors and partners.

The Metrodecker EV bus for London will carry over 90 passengers with a range of more than 150 miles on a single charge.

Graham Belgum, Optare president said: “This order for our double deck product, launched in November 2016 at Euro Bus Expo, begins the next chapter in the Optare electric bus journey.

“The first Transport for London route to operate with solely electric buses began operation with an all Optare single deck electric bus fleet four years ago.

“Optare are delighted to be supplying their buses once again for the first all-electric double deck bus routes in London.

“However, the journey doesn’t stop here. We continue to develop and refine this technology. We look forward to bringing the next generation of electric buses to market later this year.”

Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, said: “We’re committed to reducing emissions from London’s buses and making routes 43 and 134 exclusively electric is an important step to a zero-emission fleet. Buses are crucial to reduce Londoners’ reliance on cars, and with this landmark order it means the largest pure electric double-deck bus fleet in Europe will help reduce emissions across the capital. Electric buses are good for air quality and improve the customer experience, with less noise and fewer vibrations, all creating a more comfortable journey.”

The announcement follows the news earlier this month of the first order for Metrodecker Euro 6 buses for Reading Buses.

Robert Drewery, commercial director at Optare said: “We are delighted with this order, which follows extensive in-service trials of the Metrodecker EV with a number of operators.”