The Journey of the Electric Bus: How the Shift to Low
Carbon Transport is Making a Difference
Globally, transport accounts for around a quarter of CO2 emissions (source: BBC). But, as much as misleading media coverage and widespread of misinformation would lead you to believe it’s all down to aviation, that is not true. In fact, one of the world’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases hides much closer to home. Literally. It’s private transport.
More than half of short trips (1-2 mile) in England are made by car. The average petrol car on the road in the UK is responsible for around 180g of CO2 per km. A diesel car produces 173g of CO2 per km. And our fondness of SUVs and 4x4s (because we all need them for that one week a year when it snows?) is not helping either since, generally speaking, the larger the car, the higher the emissions.
So it’s not the occasional long-distance holiday that is killing our planet. It’s our daily commute and weekly trips to the shopping centre.
Unless…. you take the bus instead.
Vision of Sustainable Mobility
As of 2020, there had been 500,000 units of electric buses worldwide (source: Bloomberg) although majority (meaning more than 90%) have been deployed in China. In Europe, urban bus fleets are said to largely transition to electric power by 2030, with proposed e-bus target of 75% of all buses sold in Europe by then (Source) so we’re slowly catching up.
Western European countries are leading the trend with Germany, UK and France covering more than 50% of revenue share of the electric bus market (figure from 2019).
The fast-moving landscape in Europe is a testament to its dedication and determination in making bus travel one of the most sustainable travel options for the general public. It’s also a proof that with radical transformation in mobility systems and travel behaviour, a meaningful change in a relatively short time is possible.
Fast Tracking the Change
At the end of 2018, the largest fleet of electric buses in Europe supplied by VDL Bus and Coach was operated by Connexxion around Schiphol airport in the Amsterdam region.
In September 2019, the Mayor of London, praised the UK’s capital for taking the crown with over 200 electric buses within its fleet. Not only that, two of London’s bus routes were on track to becoming UK’s first bus routes to use only electric double deck buses.
Elsewhere in the UK, cities like Manchester and Glasgow were following by introducing electric buses to their fleets with the aim of eventually converting entire fleets. And soon after, the UK government announced an ambitious plan to introduce at least 4,000 zero-emission buses in the country in 2021.
While other European countries may not be as aggressive in implementing electric bus fleets, they are still making good progress. By November 2020, 750 of VDL’s Citeas electric buses in Europe have collectively covered a total of 75 million kilometres (source: Sustainable Bus)
A Steady Supply Across Europe
Perhaps surprisingly, Poland is one of the largest bus producing countries in Europe with Solaris Bus & Coach being one of the major players in the European market. The company claimed to have made a quarter of the European electric buses in 2019.
Other manufacturers such as VDL Bus and Coach, EBUSCO, MAN and VOLVO have also been heavily involved in ensuring a steady supply of electric vehicles for all European countries, from Sweden to Spain. For more in-depth analysis of the market and key players, check out the Sustainable Bus article – https://www.sustainable-bus.com/electric-bus/electric-bus-public-transport-main-fleets-projects-around-world/
Private or Public Transport?
Having sizeable fleets of electric vehicles and decent public transport infrastructure is a step in the right direction when it comes to climate change. But it’s also the easy step. The hard work starts trying to convince the public to make the swap (even if only occasionally to start with) to public transport.
How can this be achieved? By not only appealing to their environmental consciousness but also their need to “ride in style and comfort”. A journey on an aesthetically pleasing bus will provide a better overall experience. If the ride is comfortable and clean, passengers may be more likely to try swapping their local car journey for a bus one. And providing such experience can be as simple as selecting the right upholstery material for public transport.
ELeather is not only an environmentally friendly solution for bus OEMs and operators, it’s also a durable and comfortable solution that requires minimum maintenance to keep it looking new for longer. Contact us to find out more.