The Big Lemon has had a keen interest in renewable and low emission fuels since its formation in 2007. Originally all our vehicles ran on recycled waste cooking oil collected from local restaurants, but when electric buses started becoming available we launched a plan to convert our whole fleet to zero-emission, and using energy from renewable sources. In 2016 we launched a fundraising campaign to raise £250k to fund the purchase and conversion of two diesel buses to electric. The campaign was very successful, and we raised the money very quickly.
We also ran a separate campaign to fund a solar installation on the roof of our depot and this was also successful thanks to the M&S Energy Fund and local businesses and supporters. In April 2017 we launched our first electric bus, powered by solar energy generated on the roof of the bus depot. This was followed by the second bus three months later, and now, just over two years later we have eight electric buses in our fleet, running public bus services in the Brighton area. Two of these are the retrofitted diesel buses (by Magtec), two are second-hand factory-built electrics, and four are brand new buses bought with help from grants from the Department for Transport’s Low Emission Bus Scheme.
The Big Lemon’s core values are community, sustainability and innovation; and our vision is that by 2030 every community in the UK has access to affordable, sustainable transport, using zero-emission vehicles powered by renewable energy and owned by the local community.