The world's first purpose-built, entirely electric, double-decker bus will be picking up London commuters this autumn, mayor Boris Johnson has announced.
The bus, which is being manufactured by Chinese group BYD, will hit the streets in October, running along route 16 between Cricklewood and Victoria Station.
The zero-transmission bus joins a growing fleet of single-deck electric buses in London. There are already eight, manufactured by Optare and BYD, which have been running since 2013 and a a futher two made by Irizar will start running soon.
The capital's first pure electric bus route, the 312 – which runs between Norwood and South Croydon – will also be created later this year.
The announcement was made today during Johnson's global Clean Bus Summit, which was attended by government and business representatives from around the world.
In a statement, the mayor's office said:
Many believed that a purely electric double-deck bus would not be possible due to the size of battery packs required to power it. However, by working with BYD and utilising the latest cutting edge technology London has been able to secure another world-first.
The outgoing mayor added: “The iconic red double-decker bus is about to become greener than ever. I could not be more pleased that London will play host to these exciting pure electric double-deck buses, and I’m sure the lucky users of route 16 will embrace it with gusto.”
As part of his ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) proposals, Johnson has also pledged that all 300 single-deck buses in central London will be zero emission at tailpipe by 2020. In addition, virtually all 3,300 double deck buses in central London will be Euro VI electric hybrid.
All that means plenty of new buses being built – which in turn means more jobs, as the UK is a major manufacturer of ultra-low emission buses and supporting technologies.
Glasgow-based Alexander Dennis, Ballymena-based Wright Bus and Leeds-based Optare are all expected to benefit from the drive to clean up London's buses, and potentially those from major cities around the world,