Draft Action 7: Scaling up innovative clean buses

  • Lea (Communicat... profile
    Lea (Communicat...
    5 February 2018 - updated 1 year ago
    Total votes: 2
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It is widely recognised that serious effort is needed in the EU to break the current dependence of the transport sector on oil. The present dependence undermines our efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming, it raises serious concerns about our energy supply security, and it undermines our efforts to protect human health and the environment.

In July 2016, the Commission presented a low-emission mobility strategy, in order to drive a transition towards low-carbon, circular economy in the transport sector. [1] The introduction of clean vehicles and the infrastructure to recharge/refuel them is a key element of this strategy:

"The potential to introduce low or zero emission technologies differs among categories of such vehicles. For some categories – such as city buses – early adoption of zero emission technologies seems in reach […]. Public procurement is a powerful instrument to create markets for innovative products and it should be used to support take up of such vehicles. Since a significant part of public procurement is undertaken by municipal and local authorities, there is particular potential for public transport vehicles, such as buses, using low-emission alternative energies."

The present action seeks to support the market introduction of clean buses.

Clean (alternatively fuelled) buses in urban areas can offer considerable advantages. Reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases, air pollutants and noise bring about considerable public health benefits. Moreover, moving on quietly and smoothly means greater passenger comfort and new opportunities for routes, making public transport more attractive.

However, the potential of these innovative technologies is far from being fully utilised in the EU, owing also to still wide-spread concerns over technical maturity and high costs, particularly of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric buses.

Many important implementation issues remain to be resolved, including legal, organisational, technical and financial. 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.

Moreover, there needs to be trust into the ability of the market to deliver products at larger scale and fitting specific local requirements. In addition, public and private stakeholders raised the issue of better coherence of different policy and financial levers. [2]


The current share of alternatively fuelled buses in the European bus fleet is roughly 10 to 12 percent. The action should focus on increasing this share by creating relevant enabling conditions and promoting the application of innovative clean buses at all levels of governance.


EU level

  1. Support through EU regional policy and relevant EU funding sources
  2. Clean Buses Deployment Initiative:

The Clean Bus Deployment Initiative was launched on the 13th of July 2017 during the plenary session of the Committee of the Regions; It consists of the following:

  • Clean Buses Declaration
  • Expert Group under the Sustainable Transport Forum
  • Hub/deployment platform (will rely on inputs from the Expert Group)
  • The website of the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO) will be used as a dissemination tool (www.eafo.eu)

National level: create ambitious enabling conditions

Member States to set-up and implement relevant financing and taxation schemes, such as national financial support programmes and tax incentives for alternatively-fuelled buses.

Local/regional level: create awareness of relevant tools

Local and/or regional authorities being aware and use total cost of ownership models in contracting public transport.

See also:

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/themes/strategies/news/doc/2016-07-20-decarbonisation/com%282016%29501_en.pdf

[2] See https://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/urban/cleanbus_en