The initiative brings together a wide range of stakeholders to develop a strategy for rolling out clean fuel buses in countries throughout Europe.

Political leaders in number of cities and regions in Europe have supported the project, signing a declaration of intent on promoting “large-scale deployment of clean, alternatively fuelled buses in Europe”.

The initiative also has the backing of manufacturers, transport organisations and other stakeholders.

The current share of alternatively fuelled buses in the European bus fleet is roughly 10-12% (approximately 20,000 out of a total of 200,000 public transport buses).

An initial target aims to increase this share to 30% by 2025, which initiative supporters say will yield considerable public and private investment opportunities.

Action under the initiative should contribute to deploying at least 2,000 zero-emission buses by the end of 2019 in the EU, with growth rates accelerating in future years.

Investment in zero-emission buses alone will be worth more than €1 billion.

At the launch, it was pointed out that important implementation issues remain to be resolved, including legal, organisational, technical and financial.

A statement said: “Any decision to invest large-scale into alternatively fuelled bus technology needs to be based on a sound, well-understood business model that leaves all involved partners with sufficient confidence into its financing model and its funding strategy seen from a total cost of ownership perspective.”

The Clean Bus Deployment initiative is based on the three pillars:

  • A public declaration endorsing a common ambition of cities and manufacturers to accelerate the roll-out of clean buses.
  • The creation of a deployment platform where public authorities, public transport operators, manufacturers and financial organisations exchange information and agree potential investment
  • The launch of an expert group to provide expertise on technological, financial and organisational issues

Recent announcements of leading public transport authorities indicate a much stronger push for alternatively fuelled buses over the next few years.

For example, the Dutch provinces committed to only buy zero-emission buses from 2025 onwards; the cities of Athens, Paris and Madrid plan to remove diesel vehicles by 2025, as well as the government of Norway.

Other cities and regions have announced plans to stop purchasing conventionally fuelled buses, including Copenhagen (in place since 2014), London (announced for 2018), Berlin (announced for 2020) and Oslo (announced for 2020).

Further details on the Clean Bus Deployment Initiative are available here.

A detailed summary of the declaration content is available here.

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