Who’d have thunk that China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, would be leading such an environmental initiative as electrifying their cities’ vehicles? and at remarkably rapid rates at that. Well they are, and to prove it, the city of Shenzhen officially has the world’s first 100% all-electric bus fleet, a project which began in 2011 and reached its goal of completion by 2017. Unsurprisingly, it is the largest electric bus fleet ever, with over 16,000 electric buses.
So how did the eco-conscious city do it so quickly? For one thing, China’s government has been pushing policies supporting the development and use of NEV’s (New Energy Vehicles). Apparently it has been a top priority. It bestowed a subsidy of about $500 Million to Shenzhen, which covered more than half the cost of the buses, and allowed for a robust infrastructure of charging stations. Each bus only takes about 2 hours to fully charge, and with 300 charging stations throughout the city, the plan became quite practical to implement.
Although the initial cost of buying the electric buses is relatively high, in the long-run they are more cost-effective: they require less maintenance than diesel buses, and electricity is much cheaper than fuel. EV buses are more efficient, quieter, and of course, do not produce those nasty air pollutants responsible for 6.5 million deaths a year. Many other cities in China will soon follow with electrifying their bus fleets, as well as looking at electrifying their cities’ taxis.
Clearly, government support was a key factor here. But Shenzhen has now provided a proof of concept, within an impressive time period and on a massive scale. To name a few, France, Norway, London, LA and NYC have all committed to vehicle electrification goals within a 20 year time-frame. We certainly look forward to hearing the news of their success! Follow these stories at cleantechnica.com.