Transport for London (TfL) has ordered 20 hydrogen double-decker buses as part of its drive to make London’s transport zero-emission. It follows the introduction of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone last month.
The environment-friendly vehicles will be introduced on routes 245, 7 and N7, with people traveling to Wembley Stadium, or from west London to the West End, able to hop on the new green buses for a smoother and quieter journey. The new, modern buses will also enhance the customer experience, with on-board USB charging points.
TfL is investing £12 million (US$15.6 million) in the new buses and the fueling infrastructure. Wrightbus in Northern Ireland will manufacture them, creating new jobs in the region. More than £5 million of funding is being provided by European bodies and £1 million from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles.
To encourage the take-up of this technology in other cities in the UK and Europe, TfL is leading procurement within the ‘Joint Initiative for hydrogen Vehicles across Europe’ (JIVE) project. JIVE aims to bring down the cost of the vehicles by buying in bulk with other authorities, helping put the price per bus on a par with the other cleanest fuels.
We all have a role to play in cleaning up London’s toxic air and I’ve always said that TfL should lead from the front. Following the launch of the world-first Ultra Low Emission Zone last month I’m delighted that TfL has today signed a contract to bring 20 state-of-the-art, zero-emission hydrogen buses to London’s streets. We are investing a record £85m in cleaning up our bus fleet, and I am proud that London now has the largest zero-emission bus fleet in Europe.—Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
As part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, TfL is committed to using only the cleanest buses in its fleet. Ten Low Emission Bus Zones have been introduced, reducing NOx emissions by 90% on some of the capital’s busiest roads. All of the buses in the Ultra Low Emission Zone and 75% of the entire bus fleet already meets these standards, with all buses set to be upgraded by October 2020. This will make the whole city a Low Emission Bus Zone.
Greening transport in the capital will require using a range of clean power sources. Hydrogen buses can store more energy on board than equivalent buses, meaning they can be deployed on longer routes. They only need to be refueled once a day for five minutes, making them much quicker to power up when compared with conventional battery-electric buses.
The double decker hydrogen buses will expand TfL’s growing number of zero-emission buses. There are currently a total of 165 zero-emission buses, with a further 68 electric double deckers on the roads by the summer. TfL has also recently announced that the route 323 will become fully electric next year, along with two further routes, which will be announced later this month.
The European funding is provided by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), and the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), an executive agency of the European Commission.