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London to phase out diesel buses; all new single deckers for central London to be zero emission

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently committed to phasing out purchasing new pure diesel buses from the capital. No more pure diesel double-deck buses will be added to the capital’s fleet from 2018 and all new single-decks for central London will be zero-emission. The Mayor made the announcement along with unveiling the first double-decker hydrogen bus, manufactured by the Wrights Group. (Earlier post.)

London has committed to procuring roughly 300 zero emission buses by 2020, with 51 battery electric buses recently going into service on the 507/521 route, taking the number of completely electric bus routes to three, with 79 zero emission buses in total in the fleet.

At least 20 new hydrogen buses will be delivered to London as part of a £10-million (US$12.6 million) part-EU funded project supporting hydrogen technology, with TfL providing at least £5 million in funding.

The Mayor made the announcement at the International Zero Emission Bus Conference and Fuel Cell Bus Workshop (IFCBW) at London City Hall, held 30 November and 1 December and hosted by Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE). The workshop is a clean transit event at which public and private sectors showcase considerations for the expansion of zero-emission bus technology. CTE hosted the event in partnership with the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and UK-based Element Energy, in partnership with the European Union’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).

Sadiq Khan is calling on other cities to follow London’s lead and work together to challenge bus manufacturers to produce more zero-emission buses and make cleaner bus technology cheaper.

Eleven other major cities—including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Cape Town—have already responded to the call and agreed to begin moves to phase out their procurement of pure diesel buses by the end of 2020. In addition, Paris, Madrid and Mexico City have committed to removing diesel buses from their cities by 2025.

There are currently more than 200 ZEBs operating in the US, according to CTE. By 2018 this number will grow to nearly 600, based on published awards and sales to date. The state of California is presently considering a target goal that would require transit fleets to be entirely zero emission by 2040.

At the IFCBW event, Jack Kitowski, the Mobile Source Division Chief of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), said that recent awards of more than $70 million in Low Carbon Transportation grant funding will go to build 25 fuel cell electric buses and 70 battery electric buses along with supporting infrastructure for 10 transit agencies throughout California.

Driving this effort are state laws requiring that by 2020 California must reduce its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions to 1990 levels (AB32) and to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 (SB32). Furthermore, Governor Jerry Brown has issued an Executive Order requiring state agencies to take the necessary actions to ultimately reduce GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

A number of US ZEB transit operators were present in London to share the practicalities of fleet integration and operation, including AC Transit (Oakland, CA); Foothill Transit (West Covina, CA); Orange County Transportation Authority (Orange, CA); Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (Canton, OH); and SunLine Transit (Thousand Palms, CA). The Los Angeles Mayor’s Office gave a statement at the event that the city was committing to make zero-emissions buses 20% of their fleet purchases in 2017.

This was the 10th Edition of the IFCBW, continuing efforts begun in 2003 by the US Department of Transportation, US Department of Energy, and the European CUTE/HyFLEET CUTE programs. CTE and Element Energy have begun making plans for the next International Zero Emission Bus Conference to be held in mid-2018.



This is really good news and about time. Other cities should do the same. We can eliminate air pollution now that the BEV has been reinvented with lithium batteries and by revolutionary driverless tech to be used for the first time commercially in 2018 when the Tesla Network boots.

We need to phase out all the products that destroy the planet like vehicles with ICE and fossil burning power plants. Today we finally have affordable and sustainable alternatives that scale to replace fossils. We just need to speed this transition up with sustainability mandates.

Below is a link to a story that shows that wind power costs in the USD now is down to 3 cents per kwh on average for US wind power. It is less than coal, gas or nuclear. And it still falls.


For cities fuel cell buses would be preferable, as they filter the air, with one bus able to take out the particulates from around 50 diesel cars according to Hyundai, so in cities could actively clean the air, not just not contribute themselves as BEVs would.

Costs are the thing though, and BYD makes BEV buses by the thousand.

A recent order for 300 FCEV buses from a city in China is encouraging that the costs are getting to an acceptable level though, and I will follow the London trials with interest.


FCEV becomes practical when you require 2000 kWh like the Nikola Motors truck has planned. This is beyond today's BEV technology, though it is attainable in a range extended FCEV. The real limitation for FCEV will always be infrastructure and Nikola Motors has a plan (less than 400 H2 refueling sites would be required for the USA).
Intercity FCEV Buses would also be an option. A 120 mph, autonomous bus traveling in special highway lanes could be an alternative to rapid rail.



I attach a link to your comments post in reference to Hyundai's claim.

I thought that air filtration would be the likely explanation.

Mr Adams of the 'Adams Family' TV show made his fortune trading 'lint and dust'

He'd be 'turning in his grave at the possibilities.

The Lurking Jerk

In large diesel vehicles the up front costs of the after treatment systems are quite manageable. Large diesel vehicles can be affordably and cost a lot less than FCV.
So.... this ban is pointless. And I have nothing against FCV or BEV vehicles.

The Lurking Jerk

(affordably cleaned up, sorry)

Dr. Strange Love

Lurking Jerk. It is pointless. Modern PFs with SCR and Urea are clean. My wife drives one of those new '16 Jeeps with the V6 diesel and SCR/Urea. I can't smell or see anything coming from the exhaust. Now my older diesel work trucks and equipment are another story.


London gets inversions which led to the 1950s air emergency when coal was being burned in vast quantities. They can use all the clean air vehicles they can get.

Dr. Strange Love

Perhaps they should ban all personal LDVs. Implement overhead cable cars. Sounds like a crisis given the air above does not cooperate.


Agree with some of the previous comments. This ban is nothing more than silly antics by clueless politicians.

Residential wood burning is the largest single source of PM2.5 in London by far (


"Lurking Jerk. It is pointless. Modern PFs with SCR and Urea are clean. My wife drives one of those new '16 Jeeps with the V6 diesel and SCR/Urea. I can't smell or see anything coming from the exhaust. Now my older diesel work trucks and equipment are another story."

No, it isn't pointless. Just because we cannot accurately measure and control ultrafine particles does not make them go away. ICE's are not clean. They are only cleaner. Today's cleanest ICE's still randomly kill people.


Electric or nat gas buses would be better than "clean" diesel, IMO.
I take what people say about clean diesel, but there are far too many diesel vehicles in European cities and the %age has to be reduced, without making hundreds of thousands of tradesmen bankrupt.
One idea I had was banning all new diesel taxis. (They can use Prius hybrids (which many already do). Existing diesel taxis would be allowed for 5-10 years as the margins on taxis are pretty tight at present where I live (Dublin).


@ davemart,

Better late than never, I would suggest that the only way a fuel cell intake can filter the emissions of even one diesel (or any other I.C.E. regardless of size) is to have the exhaust fed directly to the FC air intake. It would need to take 100% of the exhaust to remove th particles. That is never going to happen in the real world.

But hey we are all stupid - right?

If it sounds too good ........

Wonder if the Hyundai 'boss'who made the claim ( reminds me of similar S.A.A.B & Volvo claims that found them in court) was he just scamming , is a fool or being a 'boss' his underlings couldn't stump up the truth?

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