Transport for London (TfL) has selected Wrightbus as the preferred manufacturer for the final design and build of the New Bus for London (NB4L), based on the iconic Routemaster.
It is to build a prototype of the diesel-electric hybrid, and deliver five pre-production vehicles for on-the-road trials in 2011.
The NB4L will have an open platform (to be closed off at certain times, such as at night) allowing reinstatement of a hop-on hop-off bus service; three doors (including the rear platform); two staircases and capacity for "at least" 87 passengers.
It will also "incorporate the latest hybrid technology" and be 40% more fuel efficient than conventional diesel buses and, significantly, 15% per cent more fuel efficient than current hybrid London buses.
Air quality emissions will be reduced by 40% for NOx and 33% for particulates, compared with diesel buses.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson says: "Londoners have waited with stoic patience as work has continued behind the scenes to select the manufacturer to make the 21st century Routemaster a reality.
"The decision has now been made, and we can look forward to a new icon of London that not only returns to the Capital the joy of the open platform, but also utilises the latest state-of-the art green technology, slashing pollution and fuel consumption.
"The countdown is now well and truly on as Wrightbus work nineteen-to- the-dozen to deliver Londoners their new bus in 2011, ahead of the world descending on the city for the 2012 Games."
Wrightbus will work on finalising their design with initial outlines expected in the New Year.
Wright Group MD Mark Nodder says: "This is indeed a privilege and a wonderful opportunity for everyone in the Wright Group, to design and build a vehicle that will doubtless become recognisable the world over."
The 'invitation to negotiate' was issued to six bus manufacturers on 22 May. The preferred manufacturer was chosen on 23 December and there is now a 10-day 'standstill' period (required by the public procurement regulations) between announcing the winner of a contract and the signing the contract.