Electric bus adoption shows no signs of slowing down. We regularly share stories of transit authorities buying another batch of electric buses, and it’s happening all over the world. Most recently, we got some big orders. Berlin, Germany, added 90 electric buses and Bogota, Colombia, added 470.
Before getting into the specifics of both stories, let’s quickly review why so many cities are adopting electric buses. As we’ve covered before, car buyers can be irrational. An electric vehicle like the Tesla Model 3 may be more expensive to buy initially than the car you would have bought otherwise, but the lower fuel and maintenance costs ultimately make an EV the better buy after 5 years. Many buyers haven’t figured this out yet and still prefer what they’re comfortable with and what has a lower initial cost to buy.
Transit authorities are more rational, though. They run all of the numbers, and even though it costs more to buy an electric bus, they can’t ignore that it will cost far less to operate over the course of the lifetime of the bus. This drives adoption even harder in countries with lower budgets, because the cost savings are that much more important.
The other benefits of electric buses, like less noise, lower pollution, and easier driving, are just a bonus.
That’s a big part of what happened in Bogota, Colombia. BYD recently announced that it is delivering 470 electric buses to the city. The full delivery will be completed within the first quarter of 2021, and once they’re active, they’ll serve 40 routes. A total of over 300,000 people will be served by the vehicles, saving 12,500 tons of carbon dioxide and 2.5 tons of dust particles from being emitted every year.
“Today is a historic day that we can record in the history of Bogota,” said Claudia Nayibe López Hernández, the Mayor of Bogota. “This is thanks to the joint efforts of many talented Colombians. We want to buy more electric buses, preferably, that allow us to remove the old diesel and gasoline fleet, and renew it with clean, electric buses, providing more and better services for citizens.”
The buses, made at plants in Nanjing and Hangzhou, will be delivered through the port of Buenaventura in Bogota. Each bus comes equipped with a driver safety cabin, TV, WiFi, security cameras, intelligent transport system, mobile phone charging USB interfaces, an access platform for people with disabilities, and other people-centric features, so they should make the riding experience much better for Colombians.
It’s also far from BYD’s first rodeo in South America. Other major markets include Chile, other parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and Argentina. Globally, BYD electric buses are hard at work in 300 cities, operating in more than 50 countries and regions. BYD has been in the Colombian market since 2012. BYD built the first electric taxis in the country in 2013, and also built 64 electric buses for Medellin in 2018.
“It feels really great that our dream come true,” said Ricardo Sierra, President of Colombia’s bus procurement company Celsia. “TRANSMILENIO S.A and Bogota City are leaders in electric buses, and they are setting an example for many cities seeking to develop zero-emission bus systems. I congratulate the citizens of Bogota, who will soon experience the unique charm of eco-friendly buses.”
Meanwhile Solaris, another electric bus manufacturer, delivered 90 electric buses in Berlin. This is the company’s largest order so far, and it’s also one of Europe’s biggest orders. All 90 of the vehicles are now in service, moving people around the city.
“I am extremely happy that Solaris is part of the swift transition to zero-emission solutions of public transport in Berlin. The carrier from the German capital has once again put its trust in our brand, for which I am really grateful. Quiet and zero-emission Urbino electric buses, of which there are already 123 in Berlin, carry the city’s residents every day, thus contributing to a reduction in noise and pollutant emissions in the city,” says Christian Goll, Managing Director of Solaris Deutschland GmbH.
The buses have 300 kWh batteries and carry a maximum of 65 passengers. Amenities include air conditioning with CO2 heat pump, CCTV cameras, and USB ports available to passengers. In addition, a turning camera supports the driver when turning right, which further increases safety when maneuvering in city traffic.
So far, the bus maker has delivered over 180 vehicles to its German clients in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Hanover, Nuremberg, Offenbach, and Würzburg. More sales are currently in process. We’ve covered Solaris electric bus deliveries and orders more than a dozen times this year, and the company delivered 242 Urbino electric buses in the first 3 quarters of the year.