By the end of this year, electric buses will remove 270,000 barrels of diesel from the system, Bloomberg reports. Most reports, when talking about electric buses, include fully electric, hybrid, and fuel cell buses.
"...the EV market’s impact on oil consumption is only going to grow. By 2040, electric vehicles could displace much as 6.4 million barrels a day of demand, while fuel efficiency improvements will erase another 7.5 million barrels a day, according to BloombergNEF’s May 2018 long-term EV outlook." - Bloomberg
Electric buses are only on the rise. They are seen as a big move in populated cities as they don’t add to the direct pollution problem in big cities, they are quiet and reduce urban noise, and generate cost savings of about $39,000 USD per year during the average 12 year lifespan, according to a report by Columbia University.
The group at Sustainable Bus is tracking bus fleets around the world and their growth in markets. Where many reports state global growth in electric fleets being on the rise globally, Sustainable Bus highlights the point that most of the growth is coming from China, which is aiming quickly to become an electric market for both buses in addition to its already progressive laws for automakers (as documented by Bloomberg).
Many are sharp to point that the transition to electric buses may not be of the best practice, for if the buses are powered by non-sustainable energy sources, such as a coal power plant, the transition from diesel and petroleum to electric isn’t of benefit. This is proven different, however, in findings from the Union of Concerned Scientists in the USA. It was found that electric buses, even when powered from a coal based plant, are still more environmentally friendly than diesel or natural gas powered buses.
“Battery electric buses range from 1.4 to 7.7 times better than a diesel bus, as shown in miles per gallon emissions-equivalency. Another way of saying this is that a diesel bus has nearly 1½ to 8 times the global warming emissions as an electric bus, depending on the region. And the grid is getting cleaner every year. Emission rates from electricity have steadily declined the last sixteen years. Transit agencies can also choose cleaner power than what’s provided on their grids by installing solar panels and batteries on site or through renewable electricity contracts. Charged with the national electricity mix, a battery electric bus has global warming emissions equivalent to a diesel bus getting 12 miles per gallon. This is 2.5 times better than an actual diesel bus (4.8 miles per gallon).” – UCSUSA
And the growth isn’t slowing down. Chile is on track to have the second largest fleet of electric buses in the world by 2050, as reported by The Santiago Times. In a separate article by Sustainable Bus, “The US Electric Bus Market to Grow 18.5% Yearly till 2024”, it highlights ways this growth will continue: through government grants, and strategic partnerships (such as that by Daimler Buses and Proterra in new electric school buses). If the history of the market tells us anything, as demand continues to grow, costs of electric buses should continue to decrease, allowing to further create the case for why more public (and private) transportation agencies should make the switch to electric.
Pictured here is the school bus created by the partnership between Daimler Buses (a division of Daimler North America) and Proterra. Photo from Sustainable Bus..