Published on January 5th, 2021 |
by Jo Borrás
January 5th, 2021 by Jo Borrás
As I type this, there are some 390 diesel-powered buses roaming the storied streets of Madrid, but they represent the end of an era. That’s because the Spanish city’s City Council has placed fresh orders for 520 electric and natural gas (CNC) powered buses, committing itself to mothball its remaining diesel fleet by 2023.
The move away from diesel is part of the city’s comprehensive “Madrid360” plan to promote green and sustainable procurement habits. The project integrates a multidisciplinary team of engineers, sociologists, scientists and jurists, who have worked together with the contracting authorities of the City Council and other stakeholders to develop guidelines for government purchasing that put the continued health of the citizens of Madrid — and the environment they live in! — ahead of short-term cost savings. So far, the holistic, “360 degree” approach seems to be making real progress.
Another area that Madrid360 has been making progress has been the implementation of low-emissions zones in some of the most densely traveled parts of the city. Access to these roads will be limited to certain vehicles with a high-occupancy “C” stickers, as well as motorcycles and scooters. Madrid’s mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, says that these moves will help the city to “reconcile air quality with social progress” (translated and paraphrased).
Low Emission Zone in Madrid, Spain
190 CNG buses will be phased into service this year — which obviously isn’t as good an option as “pure” battery-electric buses, but still better than having 190 diesels out there. That said, the unique, centuries-old architecture and layout of Madrid doesn’t lend itself to many of the infrastructure developments (like overhead charging) that have been tried elsewhere. As BEV tech advances with economies of scale, that will be less and less of an issue, though.
What do you guys think? Is Madrid360 just a greenwashing political ploy, or is a move towards lower emission city fleets — along with bans on older, more polluting cars and 2-cycle motorcycles in major Spanish city centers — a practical step forward? Scroll on down to the comments section and have your voice heard.
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