The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided €27.5 million in financing to Spanish transport company Grupo Ruiz to replace its more polluting diesel buses with 32 electric and 141 compressed natural gas alternatives, the European Commission said on 9 January. The new green vehicles will be used by public transport services in Madrid, Majorca, Badajoz, Toledo, Salamanca and Murcia, covering both urban and intercity lines. They will enter service over the next two years and will help to improve air quality in these cities. Grupo Ruiz’s EIB-financed investments include the construction of three new electric charging stations in Badajoz, Alcudia and Palma de Mallorca.
This project is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.
“Making the European transport sector more sustainable is a key component of the European Green Deal. By supporting Grupo Ruiz’s efforts to cut its bus fleet’s emissions, the Investment Plan for Europe continues to show its environmental credentials,” European Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said. “I hope we will see an increasing number of companies replacing their polluting vehicles for cleaner alternatives in the near future, taking advantage of EU financial support.”
As of December 2019, the Investment Plan had mobilised €458.8 billion of investment across the EU, including €49.8 billion in Spain, and supported more than one million start-ups and small and medium businesses.
Since 2016, the EU bank and the European Commission have been implementing a joint initiative dedicated to financing cleaner transport – the Cleaner Transport Facility. It has been helping many Spanish cities to swap their older, more polluting diesel vehicles for new hybrid, electric or latest generation compressed natural gas replacements. The agreement signed today is the fifth to be financed by the EIB in Spain under this initiative, for which it has provided almost €230 million.
During the signing ceremony in Madrid, EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro, who is responsible for the Bank’s climate action and operations in Spain, reminded that supporting sustainable public transport that cuts polluting emissions is among the EIB’s key priorities. “As the EU climate bank, we are determined to dedicate more resources to supporting investments promoting climate action while also generating economic growth and jobs. This project is a good example of this, and also shows the positive impact of EIB financing on people’s lives, helping to improve air quality in our cities,” she said.
Also, at the signing ceremony, Grupo Ruiz CEO Gregorio Ruiz said, “We are very aware of our responsibility in one of the big challenges of this century: working together to protect the environment. Mobility sector players have a key role in this, which is why we are committed to continuing to promote far more sustainable transport; a journey that we already began over 25 years ago with our first natural gas-powered buses. The agreement between the EIB and Grupo Ruiz shows how important it is to join forces to achieve this goal.”