ZEB Conference kicked off

11 October 2023

The ZEB Conference kicked off with a bang yesterday, with several prominent European politicians emphasising the importance of the decarbonisation of buses and coaches in Europe.

Mike Dolman, Partner at ERM, and Redgy Deschacht, President of Busworld Foundation, representing the co-organisers of the conference, welcomed attendees to the first ever edition of the conference to be held alongside Busworld Europe and extended their gratitude towards the sponsors, speakers, and all participants of the conference. Mr Deschacht noted, ‘The European Zero Emission Bus Conference, in tandem with Busworld, offers opportunities for all stakeholders in our energy transition… We hope to deepen our collaboration in the years ahead. The sharing of knowledge and the developments of technology and solutions, will remain vital.’

The Flemish Minister for Mobility, Lydia Peeters, officially opened the conference (alongside conference organisers Busworld Foundation and ERM) to over 250 participants, highlighting Flanders’ commitment to reducing its CO2 emissions. ‘Flanders has intensified its climate ambitions. Mobility accounts for more than 20% of emissions in Flanders, which must be reduced to safeguard the climate, and our health.’ The Minister has been instrumental in agreeing a ban in sales of fossil fuel vehicles from 2029, advocating for the electrification of bus fleets and depots (equating to over 3600 buses in Belgium), and supporting bus and coach companies in their journey to zero emission. ‘There is no time to waste  but we have the technology and knowledge needed for the transition.’

Eamonn Mulholland, researcher at ICCT, celebrated that the sales of electric city buses overtook those of diesel for the first time in Europe – and indeed, for the first time in any European transport sector. 1 in 3 city buses registered are now electric, driven by both demand and supply. The study highlights, however, that Europe is far from a global leader (e.g., 97% of new city buses are electric in China), although some member states have been keeping pace (e.g., Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, etc.).