Electric Bus Trial (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Question By: 
Kit Malthouse
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Kit Malthouse AM MP:  Thank you.  I just wanted to return to the procurement of these electric buses.  Am I right in thinking that the first ones that arrive will be entirely manufactured in China? 

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Electric Bus Trial (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Electric Bus Trial (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I cannot give you that information now.  I can tell you that the electric buses that we now have on the streets are, I am afraid, Spanish-built.  Iriza has made them.  To get back to my previous point, which is rather James’ [James Cleverly AM MP] question too, I do think British companies should be taking up the challenge. 

Kit Malthouse AM MP:  I thought you had two on trial from BYD in China.  TfL took two on trial last year from BYD in China. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We may.  If we are going to have them from Spain, I do not see why we should not have them from China. 

Kit Malthouse AM MP:  Do you know whether the procurement of the buses that are coming later this year in waves, as you said, was a competitive procurement? 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I am sure it was done in compliance with the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) rules and was fully competitive, yes. 

Kit Malthouse AM MP:  Could you possibly write to us about that or write to me about what the procurement is because I am anxious, obviously?  As I understand it, one of the leading manufacturers and the suppliers of these things is BYD in China and obviously one of the things you will be keen to ensure is that they operate on a level playing field with British and indeed European manufacturers.  I just wondered whether TfL will be satisfying itself that the working conditions in China around the manufacture of these buses would not give it an advantage.  I would hate for Londoners to be driving around in buses when the workers were not getting the same level of care perhaps that they might in this country. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  On that basis there would be a great many products, for instance - the very iPhone that you have on your desk in front of you - that perhaps you should send back to China in protest.  If I may suggest, you are raising an important point but a complex one.  We do not know of any reason why we should not buy these buses.

The procurement was competitively tendered.  The question for me is how we make sure that British manufacturers are in the frame.  Electric vehicles are the way to go and hydrogen vehicles as well and you have done great work on that, but Wrightbus had done brilliantly with the New Bus for London.  Alexander Dennis is coming up with new designs the whole time.  We want our manufacturers to be first in the queue; I will make no bones about it. 

Kit Malthouse AM MP:  Is it your intention for the New Bus for London shape essentially to stay the same but that you would like to see it become an electric vehicle in time? 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Ultimately, yes.  The New Bus for London shape is actually being adopted by other manufacturers as well.  The intellectual property for the New Bus for London shape resides with TfL and is being used in various forms by others. 

Kit Malthouse AM MP:  Thank you.