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New set of pollution-free buses to be tested on British roads

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Rendering shows what the bus might look like when it’s in use.

One of the UK’s largest public transport operators is trying out the use of pollution-free buses from Arrival, a company specializing in the production of commercial electric vehicles in a so-called “micro factory”.

First Bus, part of the larger FirstGroup, said in a statement Monday that tests will begin in the fall and will operate on existing routes in the UK. The vehicle is on the ground floor and will have enough seats to accommodate 36 passengers.

The company’s testing of the buses produced by Arrival continued its previous pledge to cease purchasing diesel buses after 2022 and operate pollution-free vehicles by 2035. In January, First Bus launched a hydrogen-powered double-decker bus in the United States. Aberdeen, the Scottish city.

Arrival was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in the UK. The company develops software, materials and components in-house, in a small footprint microfactory that can be quickly rolled out on existing commercial sites and adapted to demand. They say they produce vehicles. When you need it.

In November, the company announced that it would be listed through a merger with a US blank check company in a deal that gave a $5.4 billion corporate value.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission defines a blank check company as “a development stage company that has no specific business plan or purpose, or whose business plan is to engage in a merger or acquisition with an unidentified company or company or other legal entity.” Person.”

Prior to its November announcement, Arrival attracted investment from companies such as UPS, Kia, and Hyundai.

The company is currently working in two micro factories in South Carolina and in a British town, Bicester.

Changing appearance of urban traffic

Trials involving First Bus and Arrival are another sign that low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicles are playing an increasingly larger role in urban mobility as municipalities around the world are trying to solve air pollution problems and reduce the number of diesel and gasoline vehicles. . cigar.

In major capitals such as London and Paris, for example, bike-sharing schemes give people the opportunity to make short trips on two wheels, while many cities now encourage residents to walk to their destination rather than drive.

And on Tuesday, the Volkswagen Group said it would expand its electric car sharing service to a major port city in Hamburg, Germany after a pilot run in Berlin.

The app-based WeShare service started later this week and uses around 800 VW’s ID.3 electric cars.

CNBC’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.

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