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Clean Transport electric bus Shinzen China

Published on January 1st, 2018 | by Steve Hanley

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Shenzhen Completes Switch To Fully Electric Bus Fleet. Electric Taxis Are Next.

January 1st, 2018 by  


Shenzhen, located just north of Hong Kong, is home to BYD, which happens to build electric vehicles, including buses. With a population approaching 12 million, Shenzhen has a lot of buses — 16,359 of them, to be precise — and as of this moment, every one of them is electric. Nicolas Zart filled us in last month on the city’s push to convert its bus fleet to electricity. Now that conversion is complete.

electric bus Shinzen China

Next, the city intends to make all of its more than 17,000 taxis electric. Today, 12,518 of them qualify for that distinction, according to EyeShinzen. “We will gradually replace the existing fuel powered cabs with electricity powered ones and complete the target by 2020, or even ahead of schedule,” says Zheng Jingyu, head of the public transport department of the city’s public transport administration bureau.

If 16,359 buses sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. As shared by our friend and contributor Tim Dixon on EV Obsession, that’s approximately 3 times as many buses as New York City has in its fleet (all buses), and nearly 8 times the total Los Angeles has (see chart on right).

Of course, none of those electric vehicles are worth anything if they can’t be recharged conveniently. Over the past few years, the city of Shenzhen has built 300 bus chargers and installed 8,000 streetlight poles that double as charging stations for electric cars. The bus chargers can replenish the battery in an electric bus in about two hours.

None of this happens without money. In 2017 alone, the city put up almost $500 million to promote the adoption of electric buses and installation of charging infrastructure.

The reason for the push is twofold. First, Shenzhen, like many Chinese cities, suffers from crippling air pollution. Second, electric buses are much cheaper to operate than their diesel-powered cousins. “The wide use of electric buses and cabs plays a significant role in improving air quality and constructing a beautiful Shenzhen,” said Lou Heru, vice head of the city’s transport commission. Third, Shenzhen is home to BYD.

The all-electric bus fleet is expected to save the equivalent of 345,000 tons of diesel fuel and reduce carbon emissions by 1.35 million tons. Electricity costs about one third what diesel fuel costs in the area. The electric taxis are expected to save another 116,000 tons of diesel. There is a third benefit that flows from using electric buses and taxis as well — a much quieter city. Quality of life issues may not have a specific price tag, but not listening to the roar of diesel engines all day every day has to be a plus on anyone’s list.

16,359 buses are a lot of buses. To get an idea what that number looks like, check out this video of thousands of electric buses being delivered from the BYD factory to the city of Shenzhen (and note that it’s not all the buses — it’s from a 2015 delivery).

And here’s one from BYD that captures some of the value of electric buses (featuring a certain CleanTechnica director):


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About the Author

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.



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