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(Pocket-lint) - Boris Johnson, fresh from the cold brutal slaying of the bendy bus, has unleashed an alternative for the capital, a "21st century bus" described as the "most environmentally friendly of its kind".

It's the first time in 50 years that London has had a new bus designed specifically for it and it has been 2 years in the making. It was designed by the London-based Heatherwick Studio, engineered and built by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland and will be operated by Arriva.

It is one of eight of the new designs that will hit London's roads next year, entering service in February and serving the 38 route from Victoria to Hackney. Its "cutting-edge technology" includes a hybrid setup that, in testing, proved to have a fuel economy more than twice that of a standard diesel bus at 11.6mpg. 

In tests it emitted only 640 grams per kilometre (g/km) of carbon dioxide and 3.96 g/km of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) - less than half of the carbon dioxide emitted by a current diesel bus (1295g/km) and under half of the NOx emitted by a current diesel bus (9.3g/km). 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Christmas has arrived early in the form of this revolutionary new bus whose gleaming coat of red paint and sinuous curves will brighten the day of all who see it humming along our great city's streets. 

"It is the latest, greatest masterpiece of British engineering and design, and I am certain it will become a much-loved and iconic vehicle akin to the legendary Routemaster from which it draws so much inspiration."

OTT from Boris as per usual, but we have to admit it does look great and the eco-credentials are certainly impressive. All aboard.....

Writing by Paul Lamkin. Originally published on 16 April 2013.