London Stakeholder meeting
With the COP21 conference taking place in Paris, there was added emphasis on the role buses can play in reducing the environmental impact of public transport when ZeEUS stakeholders met in London
last week. Hosted by TfL, delegates heard about the progress
of demonstration projects across Europe including the three
vehicle Virtual Electric project due for launch in London over the
next few weeks.
With a budget of €22.5m, the ZeEUS (Zero Emission Urban Bus Systems) project is coordinated by UITP and co-funded by the European Commission under the 7th Research & Innovation Framework Programme, Mobility & Transport Directorate General. The ZeEUS project has been launched by the European Commission in the frame of the European Green Vehicle and Smart Cities & Communities.
Mike Weston, TfL
Director of Buses at TfL, Mike Weston welcomed delegates to The Orbit in the Olympic Park and gave an overview of London’s progress in reducing emissions from buses. There are currently 17 full electric buses in London service, supplied by Optare, Irizar and BYD for operation on four routes. A further 51 from the BYD/ADL collaboration were expected during 2016 to fully equip routes 507/521. The target was to have over 300 full electric vehicles in service by 2020 including all single deck vehicles operating in the central Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
All double deck vehicles in the ULEZ would be hybrid, the number rising from 1500 currently to 3300 by 2020. In the shorter term, existing vehicles were being improved in an SCR retrofit programme which will see around 2100 Euro3 vehicles upgraded to better than Euro5 standard by 2016.
Mike noted that whilst we may still have something to learn about electric buses, we still have a lot to learn about charging systems from the ZeEUS projects.
Jose Fernandez Garcia, European Commission
In the first of two keynote addresses, Jose Fernandez Garcia, Policy Officer in the Directorate General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, referred to alternative fuels as one of the three key elements of decarbonising transport alongside low emission vehicles and reorganising transport priorities to support active mobility. He saw alternative fuels having a positive impact on the EU economy through the huge opportunities they will create for the community’s industry and their ability to increase resilience to any future oil price shocks.
Referring to the focus that had been placed on electric car development, he stressed the importance of the ZeEUS project in ensuring that buses are developed in parallel noting that ‘electric cars are not meant to replace public transport’.
In a word of caution, he asked the question of where does the electric energy come from and called for more understanding of the interaction of transport and electric systems. Looking at the current EU electricity generation mix, electric vehicles only gave an overall 30% reduction in emissions (although nominally zero at point of use).
Matthew Pencharz, GLA
The second keynote speaker was the Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy at the Greater London Authority (GLA), Matthew Pencharz. London faced a major air quality challenge especially with the impact of projects such as the expansion of Heathrow but real progress was being made. The city was now compliant for particulate matter together with eight of nine regulated pollutants but faced a continuing NO2 challenge. Matthew attributed much of this to a failure of Euro4/5 to deliver the expected reductions and meant that compliance could be ten years away.
Alongside the reduction of emissions from buses which gave London the largest clean bus fleet in Europe, progress had been made in many other areas including a large buildings retrofit scheme and the removal of the 6,000 most polluting taxis. Moving forward, there is a focus on non road plant targeting a 40% NOX reduction by 2020 and the halving of vehicle NOX with the central London ULEZ in 2020. From 2018, new taxis must be zero emission capable and Matthew referred to how the legislation was driving investment in solutions by UK industry.
London had a specific fund to tackle the worst affected localised areas. With this 42 projects had so far been initiated including freight delivery consolidation.
Umberto Guida, UITP
Deputy Director of European Department at UITP and lead for the ZeEUS project, Umberto Guida outlined the current scope of the ZeEUS project. This now encompasses ten demonstration sites
being established across Europe involving around 80 innovative vehicles and a variety of
The project has four key objectives: Extending the full electric solution to the core part of the urban bus network composed of high capacity buses; Evaluating the economic, environmental and societal feasibility of electric urban bus systems through live operational scenarios across Europe; Facilitating the market uptake of electric buses in Europe with dedicated support tools and actions and Supporting decision makers with guidelines and tools on ‘if’, ‘how’ and ‘when’ to introduce electric buses.
Demonstrations are already underway in four cities with the London demonstration set to join them from January 2016. Barcelona has two overnight charged 12m buses which are to be joined by two 18m vehicles. The intention is for the fleet to achieve an 18 hour operational day on a single charge. Five 12m vehicles operating in Munster are opportunity charged at termini with side mounted plug in connections whilst two opportunity charged vehicles in Plzen use pantographs. The mixed full electric and virtual electric fleet in Stockholm has already been reported on extensively by Bus and Coach Buyer. The remaining demonstration projects are
being developed in Bonn, Cagliari, Paris,
Randstad and Warsaw.
In addition, ZeEUS has an observatory role focused on 60 cities with 30 already committed to the programme where they will be evaluated in a same manner to the demonstration sites promoting the sharing of a wider base of knowledge and experience. The tools and guidelines to be produced are intended to support the right solution choice and the right infrastructure. They include suitable indicators for a tendering programme.
The London Demonstration
Stakeholders heard more of the background to the 15 month London demonstration intended to take place on route 69 which is now at an advanced stage of development. They were also able to inspect the ADL virtual electric double-deckers that are intended for the demonstration route.