Alexander Dennis has revealed its vision for the transformation of UK buses which could see at least 10,000 new low, ultra-low and zero emission electrically powered buses in service in the UK within the next four years.
The bus manufacturer says the new ultra-clean buses could be in operation by the end of the year with the aim of securing the improved air quality towns and cities have experienced during the coronavirus lockdown.
The vision is to replace older diesel vehicles from the network and boost capacity to enable social distancing. In order to achieve this goal Alexander Dennis is urging the UK government and devolved administrations to speed up the transition to cleaner transport.
Alongside this, the company says that securing the future of UK bus manufacturing keeps investment in the country and creates exporting opportunities.
Colin Robertson, Chief Executive of Alexander Dennis, said, “There is strong public support for locking in these benefits through and beyond the post-coronavirus recovery to keep a healthier environment and continue the fight against climate change.
“Along with active travel and other modes of public transport, buses are a crucial part of the solution. As a society, we need to act immediately and deliver benefits as quickly as possible to minimise the deterioration of air quality when the economy restarts.”
Alexander Dennis says the new vehicles would combine different available technologies in a highly deliverable proposal with immediate benefits. The company claims these buses could offer additional capacity to facilitate social distancing and could be ready before the end of the year.
These ultra-low emission buses could bring self-charged zero emission electric range capability – completely cutting out emissions on high streets, near schools or at hospitals – without losing time to infrastructure planning and installation.
Alexander Dennis’ vision incorporates a plan for development of infrastructure for zero emission buses, with battery electric buses available in volume supported by proven expertise in rolling out fleets. Hydrogen buses will play a role for routes requiring additional range and they will be ready when a fuelling infrastructure and a sustainable supply of green hydrogen have been put in place.
The company says the UK bus manufacturers have the production capacity to meet this demand. Further investment to speed up the decarbonisation of transport could create additional highly skilled jobs in a world-class industry.
Robertson added, “We urge the UK Government and devolved administrations to speed up the transition to cleaner transport by accelerating the funding earmarked for zero emission buses.
“Clean, spacious and well-equipped buses would also serve to reassure passengers of a safe journey – with social distancing as required – to places of work, high streets, shopping centres and leisure activities, helping the economic recovery of the nation.
“We are supportive of all cutting-edge clean bus technologies and recognise that one size does not fit all, which is why we have developed a choice of solutions which meet cities and operators’ individual requirements and priorities – whether that is air quality targets, carbon reduction, interior layouts, acquisition costs, total cost of ownership, or a blend of all of these.
“We have invested tens of millions in innovation – our solutions are road-ready to be delivered at scale with the reassurance that they will perform as required.
“We have shared these proposals with senior ministers in the UK and Scottish Governments to show how our industry can lead post-coronavirus economic recovery to deliver health benefits for the entire country. The realisation of our proposals can begin immediately, and they could be scaled up in size and ambition to match councils’ and governments’ decarbonisation targets. We are ready to deliver for the nation.”