A HAMPSHIRE coach company has been chosen to trial the very latest hybrid vehicle technology.

Lucketts Travel in Fareham has taken delivery of the UK’s first hybrid coach Irizar i4H for a two-week test.

It’s hoped the trials and subsequent feedback will help to accelerate the bus and coach industry’s use of alternatively fuelled vehicles.

Mark Jordan, group engineering director at Lucketts, said: “We’re incredibly excited to take part in this important trial. The coach industry is working hard to drive down its impact on the environment and hybrid vehicles are the logical next step. Our drivers will be working closely with the manufacturers Irizar to give their feedback on how the vehicle works in a real-life context.”

The Irizar i4H can reduce fuel consumption by more than 20 per cent, with consequent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in local air quality. It works through a mixture of traditional diesel engine technology and electricity. It runs purely on electricity when driven at low speeds and the diesel engine kicks in when accelerating or cruising.

The Irizar i4H has ‘regenerative braking’, which means it recharges itself while the driver has their foot on the brake.

Mark Jordan said the feature would be particularly useful during rush hour journeys on roads such as the M27 and M3, which often have heavy traffic.