13 November, 2010
London bus will be phased out from 2012
Built by Wrightbus, the as-yet-nameless double-decker also sees the return of the traditional open rear platform, allowing passengers to jump on and off quickly.
It features two staircases to make embarking and disembarking quicker and the open back can be closed off if necessary.
Passenger comfort has been prioritised, too. The bus has a torque limiter in first gear to allow it to pull away smoothly - so falling over in the aisles should be a thing of the past.
It is packed with modern technology, including an aluminium spaceframe chassis similar in principle to that of the Audi R8 supercar.
The diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain uses a battery-powered motor at the rear to boost power. It also improves economy by making less work for the diesel engine. Noise will be lower than ever.
The battery is charged by a generator linked to the 4.5-litre diesel engine. Hybrid buses are already on the streets of London, but Wrightbus claims that this is the most efficient by some way.
Testing will begin in early 2011 at a closed track, before the bus hits the city's streets later that year. The current London bus will be gradually phased out from 2012 and this version will eventually make up the entire 8,000-strong fleet.