When the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, in 2006 announced that London was to buy only hybrid buses from 2012 onwards, it was received by the bus manufacturers with mixed feelings. On the one hand it was a clear commitment – the biggest commitment in Europe – with a reasonable time to prepare for the change.
Read here in article in the Guardian from 2006 about this.
On the other hand if the challenge was to be taken seriously it would require major investments.
Major actors like Volvo/Wrights and ADL accepted the challenge to secure the fuel consumption and performance. When the field tests started in 2009, a completely new European hybrid technology was launched. Since then and thanks to high levels of commitment, dedicated and driven co-workers from Volvo Bus (and we must not forget more than 200 million Euros of investment) we have been able to realise a hybrid double decker that not only saves 30-35% of the fuel but does so in all kinds of traffic conditions. The on-going updating of these early vehicles has secured and demonstrated the reliability and availability.
Thanks to the initiative of the Mayors of London the new environmentally friendly technology is now becoming more widely available – over 100 hybrids are in service and several of the routes are almost 24/7 operations. It is therefore good news for the environment that London is now investing in more hybrid buses. The increasing oil prices, that we are now experiencing, make the London initiative even more right and less dependent on oil. London operators can now ramp-up the hybrids in their fleet. Most recently Arriva purchased 20 hybrid double deckers from Volvo.
Read the press release about the order here.