The first of 20 new Birmingham City Council-owned Wrightbus Hydroliner hydrogen double-deckers has been delivered to operator National Express West Midlands.
The new buses have been purchased as part of the council’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot scheme, which aims to ‘kick-start’ the hydrogen market as a viable zero-emission fuel, and 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.
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 will be operated by National Express West Midlands and their introduction follows similar buses entering service in London and Aberdeen. It is intended that Birmingham’s Clean Air Hydrogen Bus Pilot scheme will help to kick-start the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure development. It has been funded through OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles), 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). The council has also collaborated with ITM, which will be producing and dispensing the hydrogen fuel from the new refuelling hub at Tyseley Energy Park.