‘World first’ hydrogen deckers for London
What have been described as the ‘world’s first’ hydrogen double-deckers will be introduced on three London bus routes next year.
TfL has ordered 20 Wrightbus hydrogen double-deckers and the requisite fuelling infrastructure, representing an investment of £12m. The environment-friendly vehicles will be introduced on routes 245, 7 and N7, with people travelling to Wembley Stadium, or from west London to the West End.
The order is expected to create new jobs in the manufacturer’s hometown of Ballymena. More than £5m of funding is being provided by European bodies and £1m from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles. 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.
Hydrogen buses only need to be refuelled once a day for five minutes, according to TfL, which it says makes them much quicker to power up when compared with conventional battery-electric buses. The new vehicles are to expand the city’s number of zero-emission buses, of which there are currently 165, 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 are due to be announced later this month.
Claire Mann, TfL’s Director of Bus Operations, said: “London has the cleanest bus fleet in Europe, but we know we need to go further and faster to tackle the public health emergency caused by dirty air. Innovating and using hydrogen means we have flexibility in matching the right fuel with the operational requirements of the network. We are also pleased to be leading an initiative that brings down the cost of buying the greenest buses across the continent and within our own country, as we know pollution doesn’t respect national or local boundaries.”