Birmingham City Council has unveiled the first of its 20 new hydrogen buses, which are set to be in operation later this year.
The new buses have been purchased as part of the Council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot, which looks to ‘kick-start’ the hydrogen market as a viable zero-emission fuel.
Hailed as another solution to tackling the city’s poor air quality and a key step towards achieving the council’s net zero carbon target.
Speaking in Centenary Square where the first bus was unveiled to colleagues today, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, Councillor Waseem Zaffar said: “Fuel cell buses offer a practical solution for cities to decarbonise public transport and immediately improve air quality.
“The delivery of the first bus is great news for our city and the rest of the region. It means that we can now work with our partners at National Express to start testing the buses, training drivers and adding livery design before rolling the buses out for the public in Autumn this year.
“This is a significant step towards our net zero carbon target and will provide Birmingham with a leading role in informing debate on supportive policies for zero emission public transport at a local and national level.”
The buses, which are made by Wrightbus and are the world's first zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell double deckers. They will be operated in Birmingham by National Express – the first in England (outside of London).
It’s intended that Birmingham’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot will be the catalyst for the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and re-fuelling infrastructure development.
It has been funded through OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles), GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership), Birmingham City Council and JIVE project funding from the FCH JU (European Funding from the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) under grant agreement No 735582. The FCH JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research.
The council have also collaborated with ITM, who will be producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new re-fuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.
David Bradford, our Managing Director, said: "We are very much looking forward to putting these hydrogen buses through their paces in real life.
"National Express West Midlands announced last year that our entire bus fleet will be zero-emission by 2030. And we are already operating 29 fully electric buses in Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry.
By operating hydrogen double deckers in service in Birmingham, we will learn which routes lend themselves to hydrogen buses and what the mix of vehicles in our fleet should be going forward.
"These new buses will be fitted out in our top-spec Platinum range, so customers will also benefit from free wifi, USB chargers and extra legroom."
Published: 30th July 2021
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