London's first fully electric double-decker buses hit the streets in October

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At the inaugural Clean Bus Summit at London's City Hall today, some 24 world cities agreed to put more than 40,000 "ultra-low emission" buses on the streets by 2020. And London will lead the charge with an innovative new offering.

That's right: a purely electric double-decker bus, announced today, will begin a trial beginning in October. BYD Auto's zero-emission double-decker buses will run on route 16, between Cricklewood and Victoria Station. BYD's single-deck electric buses have been in service in London since 2013, along with ones made by Optare.

"The iconic red double-decker bus is about to become greener than ever," said mayor Boris Johnson. "I could not be more pleased that London will play host to these exciting pure electric double-deck buses, and I’m sure the lucky users of route 16 will embrace it with gusto."

Additionally, the capital will soon welcome a purely electric bus route later this year: the 312, which runs between Norwood and South Croydon. Two more single-deck electric buses from Irizar are joining the fleet as London slowly but surely increases its electric public transport commitment. Johnson aims to have all 300 of central London's single-deck buses be zero-emission rides (measured at the tailpipe) by 2020, while the double-deckers will mostly be electric hybrids.

London is also looking into hydrogen-powered buses, and will perform a pilot program on inductive charging for electric-powered buses this October, allowing them to wirelessly top off their batteries at stands. That trial will take place on route 69 between Canning Town and Walthamstow using hybrid buses.

[Sources: London.gov.uk via Engadget; The Drum]