London is set to own Europe’s largest fleet of electric buses when routes 507 and 521 become all-electric later this year.
The routes, the second and third to run exclusively on electric-only buses, will be serviced by buses made in Britain by Chinese company BYD and UK manufacturer ADL.
Transport for London say the new, cleaner vehicles will eliminate NOx emissions on the routes and reduce CO2 emissions by 40 per cent.
Combined with the electric buses currently running on route 312 in Croydon, the 51 new single-deckers will take the capital’s fleet to 73.
Innovations inside the buses include screens showing the next five stops and information on how the Tube and Overground is running, plus USB sockets to help passengers charge their phones.
The first nine vehicles were unveiled at Waterloo Bus Garage today by Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross, Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, and representatives from both BYD and ADL.
City Hall has ambitious plans for all 300 single-deck buses that travel through central London to be zero emission by 2020, and for all 3,100 double deck buses to be hybrid by 2019.
Mayor Khan said: “It’s vital that we act now to clean-up our capital’s toxic air and do everything we can to help prevent the thousands of deaths it causes each year.
“I’ve set out a comprehensive plan to improve our air, and the transformation of London’s bus fleet will play a key role in making our transport cleaner and heathier.
“These first two electric bus routes right through the heart of London are another step towards the end of conventional diesel buses on our roads. This will deliver extensive air quality benefits and position us as a true world leader in adopting ultra low emission vehicle technology.”
However Mr Khan’s political opponents on the London Assembly point out that the buses were ordered last July during Boris Johnson’s administration and have accused the Mayor of recycling old news.
Conservative Transport Spokesperson, Keith Prince, said: “Mayor Sadiq Khan has the magic ability to make the old new again by re-announcing the previous administrations policies and claiming them as his own.
“Today he has re-announced Transport for London 51-strong fleet of all-electric buses, a great green policy put in place last year by Boris Johnson.
“He is lucky to have such a competent predecessor as it gives him some good news stories to release in between all of his broken campaign pledges.”
Liberal Democrat AM Caroline Pidgeon said she welcomed the arrival of more electric buses but said the Mayor and TfL “should refrain from making boastful claims about the adoption of electric buses, especially as today’s announcement is merely confirming a decision made over a year ago.”
She added: “Given that London has a fleet of over 8,500 buses, 73 electric buses will still leave the capital with under 1% of its buses being electric.
“The roll out of electric buses in London has a long way to go.”
Audio: Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, discusses London’s new electric buses