Bus

Reports outline barriers, enabling factors to electric bus adoption

Posted on June 6, 2019

The benefits of electric buses come from reduced emissions and reduced cost of ownership over the long term.
BAE
The benefits of electric buses come from reduced emissions and reduced cost of ownership over the long term.
BAE

The adoption of electric buses, mainly by municipal governments, has accelerated in recent years, increasing more than 80-fold between 2011 and 2017. But cities still have a long way to go. Investment in electric buses and other low-carbon technologies needs to double over the next two decades to keep global warming below safe thresholds, as identified by the IPCC.

Reaching this goal will require overcoming specific barriers and encouraging key enabling factors, according to new research from WRI, which examined real-world experiences from 16 cities that have attempted to adopt electric buses to greater and lesser degrees of success.

Two sister reports from WRI, Barriers to Adopting Electric Buses and How to Enable Electric Bus Adoption in Cities Worldwide, break down lessons learned in this rapidly evolving field and provide step-by-step guidance on how to achieve electric bus adoption targets using concrete examples.

Chinese cities account for 99% of electric buses on the road today. China’s pioneering position in the field has yielded valuable insights. In just five years, Shenzhen went from needing two electric buses to secure the service quality of one diesel bus to matching service quality one to one. Today, the city operates the largest 100% electric bus fleet in the world, with more than 16,000 vehicles.

Electric buses typically cost two or three times more than conventional diesel buses. The benefits come from reduced emissions and reduced cost of ownership over the long term.

  • In the case of Izmir, Turkey, the operating costs for 20 electric buses led to an 84% reduction in fuel costs and a 60% reduction in total maintenance costs relative to conventional buses.
  • Izmir’s usage of a solar power plant to provide electricity to charge the buses has resulted in an annual avoidance of around 420 tons of CO2 emissions.

The reports define a total of nine steps to be taken by stakeholders interested in moving toward full electric bus adoption. The first five steps cover initial preparation and planning, and the next four steps address how to scale up to reach mass adoption.

Financing is the main barrier to success.

  • Formalizing and implementing customized procurement plans that are more suited to the special characteristics of electric buses, as well as new financial instruments to diversify and reallocate costs and risks, have offered promising results in places like Santiago, Chile, which leads Latin America in electric bus adoption.

Lesser known issues encountered by early adopters include access to land and adequate electrical supply.

  • Planners in Cape Town, South Africa, for example, found charging infrastructure and new parking schematics required bus depots be up to 40% larger to accommodate charging infrastructure and bigger vehicles.
  • Transit officials in Philadelphia found that existing electric charging capacity covered only about 7% of their bus fleet.
  • Very few cities and national governments have planned for the massive electricity grid upgrades that will be needed. In Zhengzhou, China, electric vehicles, including electric buses, are projected to comprise 36% of the city’s total electricity load by 2020.

The reports emphasize that the top issue for officials to consider first is the scale of their electric bus projects.

  • Cities at the early adoption stages should plan for what’s feasible and take concrete initial actions, like structured yet flexible pilot programs. 
  • Cities aiming to scale up should formalize and implement long-term plans regarding infrastructure and procurement, including cost-benefit analyses and actionable, time-bound targets.  

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

SacRT set to launch revamped bus network

As part of the new initiative, new system maps and bus stop signs have been put up across the region.

Global Ground Transportation Institute names new board members

The individuals represent companies that add diversity, innovation, and expertise.

IndyGo launches Red Line BRT system

With the Red Line being a new addition to the city, the agency says it will make it a top priority to monitor service and make adjustments for a reliable, comfortable experience.

King County Metro, WSDOT land $8M in FTA grant funds

Grants will help fund battery-electric buses and a pedestrian connection between a terminal and downtown Seattle, respectively.

Sound Transit approves $60M for Pierce Transit BRT

The new 14.4-mile BRT line will improve service on agency's highest ridership route.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation