Oban could be on its way to becoming a quieter, cleaner town as a local bus firm trials a new electric vehicle.
West Coast Motors is currently using the Optare Solo bus on routes around the town centre and to some outlying villages.
The 29-seater is currently on a 10-day secondment in Oban after also being trialled at other West Coast Motors depots including Ardrishaig and Campbeltown.
Russell Dods, Oban and Mull area manager, said: “We just want to see if it works in this area. It is green technology with no diesel fumes.
“It is fine in the cities where there are lots of charging points. Oban is like a bowl with hills to Soroba and Dunollie and we have only got the charging point at our depot at Glengallan.
“But we had it on the Soroba Dunollie route all day and it only used three quarters of the power. That’s around 100 miles.
“We also tried the supermarket route via Mossfield, Longsdale and Nant Drive, which was 101 miles and it still came back with 22% charge left.”
He added: “Obviously when it goes uphill it is using more power. When it comes downhill it is regenerating power.
“It is just like a normal bus to drive but it is really quiet, which takes a bit of getting used to.
“The kids love it, they think it is really cool. They have been learning about transport at school recently and also all about Cruachan Power Station at Loch Awe. They are putting it all together and they think it’s great.”
When the bus comes into the garage at night it only takes six hours to be fully charged.
In place of an engine there is a big box and some batteries. There are also batteries on the roof.
Mr Dods said: “It is environmentally friendly, that is the main benefit. Obviously there is no smoke belching out of the exhaust.
“We will have to do the figures and work out how much electricity we use compared to how much diesel.
“I hope we get one. It will depend on how much grant money is available.”