Ken Livingstone this week signed a deal to buy 10 hydrogen fuelled buses to help cut CO2 emissions in the UK capital.
As reported by Reuters, the London Mayor is to invest £10 million on the fleet of red buses, of which five will run on hydrogen fuel cells and five will burn hydrogen in conventional internal combustion engines.
California based manufacture, ISE Corp, claims fuel-cell buses are quieter and twice as efficient as standard diesel-powered buses. In addition, they have zero tailpipe emissions, other than harmless water vapour, and can subsequently have an immediate positive impact on street-level emissions.
"London is now the first city in Europe to commit to a hydrogen bus fleet of this size, said Mr Livingstone."This represents a huge step forward from the previous hydrogen trials in the capital and is an important step towards my target of having 5% of all public sector fleet vehicles powered by hydrogen by 2015."
Mike Weston, Operations Director for London Buses, told Reuters that the diesel buses they would replace would normally cost around £130,000 each, but the hydrogen buses were worth the extra cost.
Mr Weston added that the hydrogen vehicle industry needs an initial commitment from a major city like London to help drive the costs down in future.
The new investment follows a successful two-year £4 million trial that saw three zero-emission buses run on the 25 and RV1 routes in Central London.