London unveils trailblazing hydrogen double-decker bus
Image credit: PA
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has unveiled a hydrogen fuel-cell double decker bus, the world’s first, which will start trials on London roads next year.
The new bus, manufactured by Wrightbus, is part of an ambitious plan to tackle air pollution in the city. Speaking at the Zero-Emission Bus Conference and Summit at City Hall, the Mayor also announced that the city will completely cease procuring pure diesel double-deckers and polluting single-decks for central London from 2018.
“I want London to become a world leader in hydrogen and electric bus technology,” Khan said. “Transforming London’s bus fleet by accelerating the introduction of zero-emission buses is important and I plan to work with bus manufacturers, other cities, the European Commission and the C40 Climate Change Leadership Group of Cities to move this agenda forward.”
It is estimated that the equivalent of 9,400 premature deaths occur each year in London due to illnesses caused by long-term exposure to air pollution. Diesel vehicles are recognised as a major contributor to pollution and associated health impacts.
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.
As part of his stated commitment to cleaning the capital’s air, the Mayor wants all London buses to meet the Ultra-Low Emission Zone standard during 2020.
Khan has called on other major cities around the world to follow London’s example and strive to make their environment healthier for the residents by ditching the most polluting transport systems.
Although greener buses are usually more expensive than standard diesels, eleven major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Copenhagen have already agreed to start phasing out diesel-powered fleets by 2020. In addition, Paris, Madrid and Mexico City have committed to removing diesel buses from their cities by 2025.
“Transport is a major source of emissions for cities around the world, and tackling emissions from diesel buses is one of the most important steps a city can take,” said Mark Watts, executive director, C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.