The first of five zero-emission hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses arrived at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire on Friday where it will undergo safety and performance checks before it hits the streets of SE1 later this year.
As we reported last October, the five hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses will enter service at the end of the year on route RV1, travelling between Covent Garden and Tower Hill via the South Bank and Bankside.
While at Millbrook the vehicle will undergo a rigorous testing and certification process to ensure it meets Transport for London and Department for Transport requirements.
TfL says that once in service the hydrogen hybrid fuel cell buses will produce no harmful emissions, only water vapour, and will join one of the cleanest bus fleets in the UK.
The vehicles will be built by Wright Bros in Northern Ireland and then be transported via ship to San Diego in California where the engines are installed. The buses will then be shipped back to the UK for completion and testing.
The new hydrogen buses will join the 56 diesel hybrid buses currently in service along with an additional 56 due to enter service later this year.
Between 2004 and 2007 three hydrogen fuel cell buses were trialled on the RV1 route.
"London faces many environmental challenges but we believe alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, will bring genuine long-term benefits in tackling CO2 emissions," says Mike Weston, operations director of London Buses.
"The arrival of the first hydrogen hybrid fuel cell bus marks an exciting new chapter for London Buses as we embrace new technologies to further build on the excellent work we are doing to improve air quality for Londoners."
When the buses enter service they will be refuelled and maintained at First Group's Lea Interchange bus garage. Work is currently under way to build the hydrogen refuelling site.
Route RV1 was launched eight years ago with support from South Bank Employers' Group to provide a new link along the SE1 riverside.