Did you know that the Chinese city of Shenzhen has become the world’s first city to electrify one hundred per cent of its buses?
Who is the next one to follow? You’ve probably already noticed the growing number of electric vehicles around. But, you may not have seen the electric bus revolution yet.
It’s time to check out how electric vehicles can solve many of the biggest problems which our cities face. Keep reading this article to discover more about how electric buses are going to change our cities. Let’s go!
Electric Buses are Changing Cities
Many people are looking to alternative types of transportation.
That’s because governments around the world are preparing to transition from the production of fossil fuel energy vehicles.
Although switching to the electrification of private cars is a significant improvement. Not everyone can afford to own a car.
That’s why a growing number of people are talking about the benefits of electrical bus models as the future of public transport.
According to the World Economic Forum, by the year 2025 around half of the total number of buses worldwide will be run on electricity.
For a long time, petrol and diesel fuelled engines have been the norm among city bus models. But, times are increasingly changing as municipal governments around the world are switching to electric powered buses.
It’s not hard to see why many cities are adopting electric bus models. There are several problems which continue to pose challenges for city governments.
And yet, the electric bus development represents an opportunity to overcome many of the issues that have plagued cities for decades. Let’s discover more!
1. The Urbanisation of the World’s Population
According to the United Nations, nearly 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities by the year 2050.
With so many people populating the world’s cities, it’s just not feasible anymore for people to travel around the urban environment in individual vehicles.
Currently, in many of the most congested cities, it requires double the time to reach your destination via road car.
It doesn’t matter whether the vehicles are electrified or powered by petrol or diesel; there are too many vehicles on the roads.
The carrying capacity of cars is usually a maximum of 5 people. However, cars rarely operate at full capacity.
By contrast, buses can carry up to 200 passengers at the same time. Therefore, by promoting bus models, cities can reduce congestion significantly.
2. Climate Change
Climate change is the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, which is mostly due to the large-scale burning of fossil fuels. The consequences of which include massive flooding, severe droughts, and extreme poverty.
According to the United Nations, humanity has only 12 years to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the world’s biggest cities have an essential role to play in the fight against climate change, according to C40 cities.
That’s because much of the world’s population lives in cities, but also because cities are particularly vulnerable. Over 90 per cent of cities are coastal, and thus, at risk of sea level rises.
So, how can cities significantly reduce the carbon emissions generated from human activities?
According to research, transportation accounts for over 20 per cent of the world’s global greenhouse emissions. Therefore, by reducing the emissions of city transport systems, we can make meaningful climate change progress.
By switching to electric bus models, cities have the opportunity to reduce emissions significantly. That’s because electric vehicles emit approximately 50 per cent fewer emissions compared with diesel engines.
3. Air Pollution
There are many contributors to air pollution in our cities. These include industry and the burning of fossil fuels.
And yet, the most significant cause of polluted air is diesel engines. The diesel engines generate a particulate matter which is the primary pollutant in the urban atmosphere.
The problem is so significant now that, according to the World Health Organisation, over 90 per cent of the world’s population is breathing in polluted air at the moment.
Why does this matter? Air pollution has been found to have numerous harmful effects on human health including everything from an increased risk of cancer and respiratory illnesses.
Although air pollution doesn’t directly result in death, there is strong evidence that it cuts shorts millions of people’s lives. One study showed that air pollution reduces the life expectancy of the world’s average by approximately two years.
By switching to electric bus models, cities could significantly reduce the amount of pollution in the city air, a significant step towards a cleaner future.
4. Noise Pollution
Although the media attention around air pollution is necessary, another kind of pollution is often ignored – noise pollution!
According to the World Health Organisation, noise pollution can result in hearing loss, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular illnesses, as well as, increased stress and depression. Therefore, noise pollution is heavily impacting the quality of life.
Although noise pollution doesn’t directly impact human health as significantly as air pollution, it has been found to worsen many health conditions, for instance, heart problems.
This information has caused people to ask – how loud is too loud?
According to experts, any sound over 60 decibels could increase human risk of heart disease and other health problems. In perspective, the average car sound output is around 70 decibels.
When it comes to electric buses, and other electric vehicles, the problem is rather than they’re too quiet. The majority of electric buses produce almost no sound at all.
In light of the damaging effects of noise pollution, the problem of too much quiet is an excellent problem to have for many cities.
Many people who are opposed to the adoption of electric buses concentrate on the cost of the vehicles up front.
It’s true that the cost of the vehicles can be more expensive. Electric bus vehicles can cost between $200,000 and $300,000. However, what opponents don’t tell you is that there’s more to the story than it this.
Although the upfront costs are expensive, electricity is always cheaper than either petrol or diesel. Therefore, according to studies, switching to electric bus models could reduce the cost of fuel by up to 70 per cent of cities around the world.
Additionally, the cost of maintenance of the vehicles is more affordable, which would almost halve the expenses for the upkeep of the buses.
Furthermore, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the most expensive electric bus can save over USD$130,000 over fifteen years compared with conventional petrol and diesel-powered buses.
And guess what? These are “worst case scenarios”. The money saved by switching to electric bus models could be significantly more than such estimates.
As the number of cities in the world adopting electric bus models grows over time, the price is expected to fall dramatically subsequently.
6. Electric Buses Make us Happier
People who commute to work may complain about the crowds of people. Despite this, studies show that people who get the bus or train to work are happier than driving.
We can also assume that electric buses further contribute to well-being. Why is this?
Well, it’s incredible to think about how much space diesel engines require. Because of this, the amount of space available in traditional buses are significantly more restricted compared with electric buses.
Therefore, since electric vehicles are lower to the ground and provide much more room, they make for an improved experience.
7. Energy Security
The Australian government often speaks of the importance of energy security. As a result, Australia has continued to support the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal.
However, imports of petroleum support the Australian transport system, therefore securing oil supply is the cornerstone of every administration.
And yet, the emergence of electric bus models provides Australia with an opportunity for energy security. We already know that Australia is “an untapped solar superpower“.
By switching to electric buses which are powered by renewable energy sources, especially solar and wind energy, Australia could significantly reduce its reliance on oil and coal.
The Future of the Electric Bus?
The world’s cities face numerous political, economic and environmental problems.
Even though the introduction of the electric bus into urban areas is not a magic pill, it’s a sign of a brighter and cleaner environment in which people can live.
Now when someone asks you why there are so many electric buses around your city, you can tell them – it’s because they’re going to solve many of our problems.