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New zero-emission buses set to be trialed on UK roads

A render shows what the buses might look like when used.

One of the UK’s largest public transport operators will test the use of the zero-emission Arrival bus, a company specializing in the production of electric utility vehicles in ‘micro-factories’.

In a statement on Monday, First Bus, which is part of the larger FirstGroup, said the trial would start in the autumn and run on existing routes in the UK The vehicles will be single-story and have enough seats for 36 passengers.

The company’s test of the buses produced by Arrival follows a previous commitment to stop buying diesel buses after 2022 and run a zero-emission fleet by 2035. In January, First Bus launched a fleet of hydrogen-powered double-decker bus in the Scottish city of Aberdeen.

Arrival was established in 2015 and headquartered in the UK The company says it develops its software, materials and components in-house, producing vehicles in small-footprint micro-factories that can be quickly deployed to existing commercial sites and adapt to demand over time. if necessary.

Last November, the company announced it would go public through a merger with a U.S. blank check company in a deal that would give it an enterprise value of $ 5.4 billion.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission defines a blank check company as “a development stage company that does not have a specific business plan or goal, or has indicated that its business plan is to engage in a merger or acquisition with one or more unidentified companies, another entity, or the person. “

Prior to its announcement in November, Arrival had attracted investment from companies like UPS, Kia and Hyundai.

The company is currently working on two of its micro-factories in South Carolina and in Bicester, a city in the United Kingdom.

The changing face of urban transport

The test involving the first bus and arrival is another sign of how low and zero emission vehicles are starting to play an increasingly important role in urban mobility as city authorities around the world attempt to fight air pollution and reduce the number of diesel and gasoline cars on their streets.

In major capitals like London and Paris, for example, bike-sharing programs offer citizens the option of making short trips on two wheels, while many cities are now encouraging residents to walk to their doorstep. destination rather than driving.

And on Tuesday, the Volkswagen Group said it was expanding its electric car sharing service to the large port city of Hamburg, Germany, following a pilot in Berlin.

The app-based WeShare service will start later this week and will use around 800 VW ID.3 electric cars.

—Ryan Browne of CNBC contributed to this report


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