The Go-Ahead Group, who describe themselves as one of Britain’s leading bus and rail operators, has launched a pioneering fleet of hydrogen fuel cell buses to carry passengers on routes in the Gatwick Airport, Crawley and Horley area. The £30 million investment includes a fleet of 20 buses from Wrightbus and a liquid hydrogen refuelling station, the first of its kind for buses in Europe.
A further 34 vehicles will join the fleet over the next 18 months to create one of Britain’s largest hydrogen bus fleets. Once fully delivered, the fleet will comprise 54 vehicles and will be served by the largest liquid hydrogen refuelling station in Europe.
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. The single-decker GB Kite Hydroliner buses, manufactured by Wrightbus, are the first hydrogen-powered vehicles in Go-Ahead’s fleet of more than 6,000 buses.
The liquid hydrogen refuelling station in Crawley is owned and operated by Air Products. Once it reaches full capacity it will be capable of providing fuel for over 100 buses per day.
The launch event on 29 June was attended by Richard Holden MP, Minister for Roads and Local Transport, who said “Communities and commuters across the country know how important buses are – and these UK-made hydrogen buses could revolutionise transport for millions, bringing quieter and smoother journeys.”
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. This launch marks a historic moment for our business and demonstrates our commitment to reducing emissions in the local community.”
Christian Schreyer, Group Chief Executive, The Go-Ahead Group, commented: “These fantastic buses and the innovative refuelling depot demonstrate Go-Ahead’s commitment to investing in a net-zero future for transport.”
Manish Patel, Air Products Hydrogen for Mobility Director UK, commented: “We are proud to be part of this exciting project.”
Go-Ahead Group claims this investment marks a significant step towards reducing emissions in the local community and achieving a net-zero future for transport.