Only clean, zero-emissions buses should be sold in Europe by 2027, 11 cities, including Paris, Hamburg, Barcelona and Milan, have told EU lawmakers. In a letter today – which is also signed by civil society groups from 11 countries  – they say an EU sales target for urban buses is needed to ensure a supply of green vehicles for cities and towns trying to clean up their air and put public transport on a path to zero carbon emissions.
The cities and civil society tell the European Commission that “without action at EU level, demand for zero emission urban buses will not be matched by supply. This would jeopardise the commitments of leading cities and expose EU citizens to air pollution for longer. Constrained by a lack of availability, or prices that are too high due to insufficient zero emission bus supply, cities will be forced to keep buying combustion engine buses.”
Zero-emissions vehicles accounted for 23% of new urban buses registered in the EU in 2021, up from 16% in 2020. But manufacturers are not meeting the high demand for battery electric and hydrogen buses with the scale of supply that’s needed. Cities say the strong growth rate shows a rapid transition to zero emission is possible – if the vehicles are made available.
By 2025, more than 40 major European cities will only be buying zero-emission buses , and the number is set to rise as more local authorities seek to abandon fossil fuels. Some traditional bus-makers are stepping up too, with Daimler and MAN, for example, pledging that all their new urban buses will be zero-emissions by 2030.
James Nix, freight manager at Transport & Environment, which also signed the letter, said: “Cities want electric buses to protect the health of their citizens. But often they are just not available at the scale needed or at affordable prices. The EU urgently needs to step in and set a clear target by when all new urban buses must be zero emissions. That will support manufacturers to invest with confidence in production, thereby making clean buses widely available and cheaper.”
Urban buses in Europe are responsible for around 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and also pollute city air. The EU Commission will for the first time set CO2 targets for bus-makers when it reviews climate standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the coming months.
Note to editors:
 The letter is signed by the following:
The cities of Barcelona, Cluj-Napoca, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Malaga, Milan, Palma, Paris, Rotterdam, Seville and Valencia.
City-focused organisations, C40, the Clean Cities Campaign and Energy Cities;
Health organisation, the European Respiratory Society, international non-profit, Climate Group / EV100, and the public transport company of Malaga, Empresa Malagueña de Transportes, SAM;
European environmental civil society organisations, the European Environmental Bureau, and Transport & Environment;
National environmental civil society organisations, Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Belgium; Ecodes, Spain; EKO-UNIA, Poland; Focus Association for sustainable development, Slovenia; Fundacja Promocji Pojazdów Elektrycznych / Electric Vehicle Promotion Foundation, Poland; Green Transition Denmark; Levegő Munkacsoport / Clean Air Action Group, Hungary; the Polish Ecological Club (Mazovian and Pomeranian branches), Respire, France; VCD, Germany; VCOE, Austria; ZERO, Portugal; 2Celsius, Romania.
 Around 20 major European cities including Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Warsaw have pledged to only buy zero emission buses from 2025 under C40’s Green & Healthy Streets Declaration. These cities will join a similar number already only procuring zero emission buses – a group that includes all Dutch cities, Denmark’s six largest municipalities, Hamburg and London, among others.