Shenzhen is set to become the first city in the world to have a fully electrified bus fleet. From a small collection of fishing villages 40 years ago to a metropolis on track for a global milestone, Shenzhen has come further, faster than most cities. Already home to the largest fleet of electric buses in the world – roughly 14,500 at the end of May – the city is expected to electrify 100 percent of its public transit bus fleet by the end of 2017. If successful, it will become the first in the world to do so.
Battery-powered electric buses can provide environmental and health benefits, such as zero tailpipe emissions, energy savings, less noise and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Besides helping large cities struggling with poor air quality, this type of technology can reduce fuel costs, improve energy security, widespread adoption in cities around the world.
Despite its promise, many city bus operators around the world have run into barriers adopting and operating electric buses. There is often concern about high capital costs, uncertainty about battery performance, and a lack of incentives from local and national governments.
Shenzhen began adopting electric buses in 2009, under a national electric vehicle demonstration program that challenged 10 cities across China to deploy at least 1,000 electric vehicles each year for three years. Since then, the city has released multiple policies and targets supporting the industry and brought more electric buses into its own fleet.