A multi-million-pound project to bring a fleet of hydrogen buses to Aberdeen has been delayed due to the pandemic.
It was hoped the double-deckers, which are being built by Northern Ireland firm Wrightbus, would be rolled out across the city in the summer.
But the factory is currently closed on the back of the coronavirus outbreak.
JCB heir and Wrightbus owner Jo Bamford told the Evening Express he plans to create a greener future by introducing 3,000 UK-built buses on to the streets of the UK.
And he believes there is the potential for 200 of these vehicles to be driven along bus routes in Aberdeen.
But he said it would take longer than it was first hoped to get the 15 double-deckers on the roads in the city.
He said: “There will be a slight delay because of the pandemic. I’ve seen them half-built in the factory but the factory is closed at the moment because of the crisis.”
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Aberdeen City Council ordered 15 double-decker buses from Wrightbus in 2019, at a cost of £7.5 million.
The firm was due to deliver the green machines at £500,000 a vehicle, before the company went into administration in September last year.
By October, Bamford Bus Company had bought the business and its assets – ensuring the continued production of the environmentally-friendly buses.
Mr Bamford said: “I think it’s wonderful Aberdeen have been so forward-thinking and said they want to be a hydrogen city. We’re aiming for 200 buses in Aberdeen and to decarbonise the whole fleet.”
He believes hydrogen buses are the future for public transport and will be more cost-effective than diesel models in the long term, once the volume of production ramps up.
He said: “It’s a solution – it does everything that a diesel vehicle does.
“It takes seven minutes to fill it up, it does the same distance as a diesel and it’s zero emission.”
The buses will be mainly used on the number 19 Peterculter to Tillydrone route, with other vehicles also used on the X27, city centre to Aberdeen airport via Dyce station route.
The project is funded by Aberdeen City Council, the Scottish Government and the European Union.
Aberdeen City Council was contacted for comment.