In just eight years, Shenzhen became the first city to electrify 100 percent of its public buses—16,359, to be exact.
Between the gleaming towers of the Chinese city of Shenzhen, some 16,000 buses shuttle commuters to and from their destinations. But they’re not like the diesel-guzzling behemoths that run the streets of most cities. They’re quieter, and they run entirely on electricity.
Back in 1980, Shenzhen was just a modest fishing village of 30,000. Now a megalopolis of some 12 million, the city has undergone a remarkably rapid transformation—and so has its transit fleet. In an effort to control air pollution in this vast industrial region, the city began introducing electric buses in 2009. It has now become the first city to electrify 100 percent of its public buses. That’s a staggering 16,359 battery-powered vehicles, the world’s largest eco-friendly bus fleet.
Globally, there are an estimated 385,000 fully electric buses, and according to a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, 99 percent of them are in China. As Shenzhen moves on to making it all its taxis go electric as well, other Chinese cities are beginning to follow suit, replacing their gas-powered bus fleets by the hundreds.