National Express West Midlands (NXWM) placed the first of 20 Wrightbus StreetDeck Hydroliner hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-deckers into service earlier in December.
The Birmingham City Council-owned vehicles are the only hydrogen-fuelled buses operating in England outside London. They are rolling out on NXWM’s route 51 between Birmingham city centre and Walsall and can operate for 300km between refills. That process takes no more than 10 minutes and is undertaken at a hub at Tyseley Energy Park.
Drivers have received specific training to extend the range of the StreetDeck Hydroliners as far as possible. The vehicles “will be the catalyst for the next generation of hydrogen buses, hydrogen production and refuelling infrastructure development,” NXWM states.
Adds Managing Director David Bradford: “These state-of-the-art buses are a sign of our commitment to sustainability. National Express bought its last diesel bus in 2019 and our goal is that the whole [bus] fleet will be zero-emission by 2030.
“We are working with Transport for West Midlands to get hundreds more electric and hydrogen buses on routes across Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country.”
The StreetDeck Hydroliner buses have been finished to a high internal specification and will remove 631kg of NOx emissions per year, the operator says. They will also prevent 1,560 tonnes of annual carbon emissions.
Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment Cllr Waseem Zaffar adds: “Birmingham City Council’s zero-emission hydrogen bus fleet provides an innovative solution for cities that want to decarbonise public transport. They should immediately improve air quality and help us to work towards Birmingham’s target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.”