Making more than a dent market penetration-wise: Electric buses

Buses are on the move … again. Though driving the revolution this time is electricity, not diesel fuel. That’s the difference.

In Shenzen in China, as a matter of fact, the bus fleet is wholly electric, according to Clean Energy Canada in a press release issued on Mar. 21, 2019.

And, just how many electric buses are we talking about here? Better than 16,000, according to information in the Clean Energy Canada release in question.

Shenzen is the world’s leading contender where electric bus operations are concerned. That many electric buses operating in one location makes Shenzen the unequivocal heavy weight, possessing the lion’s share of the world’s electric buses at more than 99 percent, in fact.

This is great news for a country known to have among the worst air pollution on the planet.

But, where electric buses go, China has company. Other areas operate fleets of electric buses also, and their ranks are growing.

The city of San Francisco in the United States has committed to converting 100 percent of its bus fleet to electric by 2035.

That speaks volumes! So much so, apparently, that in a May 16, 2018 press release, the environmental justice organization Earthjustice wrote, “Today’s commitment to a zero-emissions fleet comes after SF Muni committed last month to testing 9 battery electric buses. Those first electric buses are expected to hit the streets in Fall 2018. The pilot program will evaluate how electric buses perform on crowded and hilly routes, and allow staff to evaluate the facility upgrades needed to support an all-electric fleet. The Bay Area’s own electric bus manufacturer Proterra recently took one of their buses on a record 1,100-mile trip on a single charge and on a trip along Utah’s steepest mountain highways.”

So what’s behind the electric movement, momentum – all the excitement in this area?

Also from the same Earthjustice press release: “SF Muni’s current bus fleet consists of mostly diesel and diesel-electric hybrid buses. The health impacts of diesel particulate matter are well-known. In 1998, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on published evidence of a relationship between diesel exhaust exposure and lung cancer and other adverse health effects.”

And, in its release, Clean Energy Canada added:

  • “13 percent of the world’s bus fleet is already electric
  • Over 99 percent of the world’s electric buses are in China
  • Sales of electric buses increased by 40% between 2016 and 2017
  • By 2030, the electric bus will be the same price as a diesel bus, while also saving hundreds of thousands on fuel costs over the bus’s lifetime, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
  • There are four electric bus manufacturers in Canada: GreenPower Motor Company, The Lion Electric Company, New Flyer Industries, and Nova Bus.”

In other news, Las Vegas, Nevada opts for bus rapid transit instead of light rail between the Strip downtown and McCarren Airport.

Will these buses be electric? That’s the $64 million question.

Image above: Clean Energy Canada

Published by Alan Kandel

2 thoughts on “Making more than a dent market penetration-wise: Electric buses”

    • The reason exactly why the work that was begun in the 1940’s to clean America’s air, be continued, not just here, but everywhere polluted air has become pervasive.

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