BRIGHTON and Hove Buses has taken a huge step forward in the race towards an emissions-free future.

It is testing a new Hybrid Electric Vehicle which can drive in full electric mode.

If tests go well, Brighton and Hove Buses believes it would be one of the few bus companies outside London to use the new HEV buses.

The Euro 6 micro hybrid bus, made by Northern Irish company Wrightbus and costing about £380,000, will be taken through its paces over the next month on Route 5, which covers Hangleton, Hove, the city centre, Hollingbury, the universities and Patcham.

Thirty buses currently cover this route.

Managing Director Martin Harris said the HEV represented another seismic leap towards slashing air and noise pollution and boosting fuel efficiency.

The company will apply to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles for funding, if tests are successful.

Mr Harris said: “The HEV bus is perfect for a specific location where very localised air quality improvement is being targeted.”