On December 27, the Shenzhen municipal transport commission announced it had completed the transition of its bus fleet to 100% electric buses. (Source: Han Ximin on EyeShenzhen)
The announcement that it had 16,359 electric buses will not come as a surprise to IM readers, as it was reported earlier in 2017 that the city would reach this target ahead of schedule. Nonetheless, it’s a shocking achievement. For context, imagine the bus fleets of NYC, Los Angeles County, New Jersey Transit, suburban Chicago, and Toronto all went electric — that still wouldn’t be as many buses as Shenzhen electrified.
The mega-city of Shenzhen is home to over 12 million people and it is viewed as a Silicon Valley of China, hosting many big internet companies, having a thriving startup scene, and hosting the headquarters of a electric vehicle manufacture you may know from this site — BYD.
This bus transition has been years in the making because in 2009 Shenzhen was chosen to be one of thirteen cities to be in a pilot program of new energy vehicles.
Shenzhen has been consistently pushing for electrification of its bus and taxi fleet. In 2017, Shenzhen provided subsidies for electric buses and charging facilities totaling 3.3 billion RMB ($490 million).
Shenzhen is a Huge, Global City
On the 9th of December, Bloomberg reported on the previous reports that Shenzhen would electrify its bus fleet by comparing Shenzhen’s 16,359 electric buses with American bus fleets, it came to this startling finding that Shenzhen has more electric buses than the 5 largest North American bus fleets combined (see chart, above). Although this might not shock those looking at America’s infrastructure priorities and China’s size and government priorities, that’s still a staggering difference in scale.
With a population of over 12 million, Shenzhen is also bigger than many countries.
Massive fleet means massive charging infrastructure. The investment into electric buses had to be paired with adequate infrastructure. Shenzhen has 510 bus charging stations that have a combined 8,000 charging points, so it can charge just under half the fleet at once.
At the Qinghu Bus Terminal, with more than 30 charging poles, the assistant manager gave a insight into its capacity. “A bus can be fully charged within two hours and the charging poles can serve 300 buses a day,” explained Guan Anguang, assistant manager of the terminal.
Big Environmental Benefits
It was reported that electric buses can save 72.9% more energy than the current diesel buses, which means that the Shenzhen bus fleet will save an estimated 345,000 tons of fuel per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.35 million tons per year. The electric taxi fleet will save an estimated 116,000 tons of fuel per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 453,913 tons per year.
Those are tremendous numbers. It should be remembered, though, that while Shenzhen’s electric bus fleet is huge, it is only part of a Chinese-wide effort to electrify buses. In 2016, more than 115,000 electric buses were sold in China. While Shenzhen is the first big city to get international attention, in 2018–2020, we are going to be seeing many other cities (in China) follow Shenzhen’s lead.
Originally published by EV Obsession.