The Go-Ahead Group has acquired 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses to carry passengers on routes in the Gatwick Airport, Crawley and Horley areas, the start of an order that will create one of the largest hydrogen bus fleets in the UK.
These single-decker GB Kite Hydroliner vehicles, manufactured by Ballymena-based Wrightbus, are the first hydrogen powered vehicles in the operator’s fleet of 6,000 buses.
Another 34 buses will join the Metroline fleet over the next 18 months through its partnership working with Surrey County Council, which has invested a total of £16.4m in the project.
The zero emission buses are able to cover long ranges and carry heavy loads, making them ideal for local routes around Gatwick that are intensively used – operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
It will be served by a liquid hydrogen refuelling station in Crawley which, once it reaches full capacity, will be capable of providing the equivalent of fuel for more than 100 buses per day.
The project is being supported by more than £4.3m of funding from the Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus scheme.
Ed Wills, Managing Director for Brighton & Hove and Metrobus said: “I am delighted to introduce 20 new hydrogen buses to our Metrobus fleet and a liquid hydrogen refuelling station, which, once fully commissioned will be the largest of its kind in Europe.
“This launch marks a historic moment for our business and demonstrates our commitment to reducing emissions in the local community where the only thing that comes out of the bus tailpipe is water.”