Mobility and Transport

Clean transport, Urban transport

European Clean Bus deployment Initiative

European Clean Bus deployment Initiative

With the Paris climate agreement in force, the EU is more than ever committed to a global transition towards a low carbon economy. Local and regional leaders have a key role in cutting carbon emissions by upgrading our transport systems making them cleaner, more energy efficient and more sustainable.

Low-emission mobility brings significant benefits to our citizens whilst strengthening innovation and competitiveness of our industry. We therefore all need to support zero-emission transportation as the most effective and efficient form of public mobility in our regions and cities.

Through their combined efforts the signatories of the "Declaration of intent on promoting large-scale deployment of clean, alternatively fuelled buses in Europe" are committed to make the transition to clean, alternatively fuelled happen.

Signing up to the Clean Bus Declaration is easy: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/Clean_Bus_Declaration

To be kept informed about upcoming activities in this area, please subscribe: http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/move/subscription-quick-generic-form-fullpa...

Background

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 really utilized in the EU, owing also to still wide-spread concerns about technological reliability and high costs, particularly of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric buses (Roughly 8 percent of the bus fleet is renewed every year following a typical 8-10 year cycle life for (diesel) buses. Diesel buses continue to represent the largest part of the urban bus fleet. The 3iBS survey noted that in 2013 roughly 10 per cent accounted for biodiesel, 7 per cent for CNG, 1.2 per cent for electricity, 0.6 per cent for biogas and 2.3 per cent for other fuels. In 2016, this picture - with some upward adjustments - is still largely correct http://www.uitp.org/sites/default/files/cck-focus-papers-files/UITP_Posi...) The business case for natural gas and other hybrid solutions is already well-established, but demand needs to grow. Recent announcements of leading public transport authorities indicate a much stronger push for alternatively fuelled buses over the next years (For example, the Dutch provinces committed to only buy zero-emission buses from 2025 onwards. Cities of Athens, Paris and Madrid plan to remove diesel vehicles by 2025, as well as the government of Norway. Other cities and regions have announced plans to stop purchasing conventionally fuelled buses, including Copenhagen (in place since 2014), London (announced for 2018), Berlin (announced for 2020) or Oslo (announced for 2020)).

At this point, however, 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. 

For the above-stated reasons the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions are facilitating the creation of a dedicated initiative for clean (alternatively fuelled) buses.

The Clean Bus Deployment initiative is based on the following 3 pillars:

  1. A public declaration endorsing a common ambition of cities and manufacturers to accelerate roll-out of clean buses.
  2. Creating a deployment platform where public authorities, public transport operators, manufacturers and financial organisations can come together with the aim to:
    • better exchange information,
    • better organize relevant actors and create coalitions,
    • leverage potential investment action
    • issue recommendations on specific policy topics
  3. Creation of an expert group bringing together actors from the demand and supply side. This expert group will benefit from consolidated expertise on technological, financial and organisational issues.

 

The work on the Clean Bus Deployment Initiative started in 2016 when the Commission hosted a meeting with manufacturers, cities, transport operators, etc. in order to understand what the barriers are that need to be tackled in order to have more Clean buses into European cities.  Since then several meetings have taken place, which have resulted in the 3-pillar based approach. The launch of the Clean Bus Deployment Initiative took place in Brussels on the 13th of July, during the plenary of the Committee of the Regions.