Electric buses are replacing conventional diesel-fueled buses at an accelerating rate that is outpacing the adoption of battery-powered cars. According to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2030 some 28% of car sales will be electric vehicles while 84% of new buses will be electric buses. So far, some 12 years away, the actual adoption of electric buses is outpacing this optimistic projection.
Switching from internal combustion engine transport to electric vehicles will displace 7.3 million barrels of oil a day, and the oil industry is not happy about it. As a result, they and their affiliates are waging an aggressive PR battle against electric buses. Op-ed pieces in conservative newspapers like the Washington Examiner are portraying electric buses as uneconomical and unreliable. The Koch network is financing an ongoing media campaign with this message.
But despite these efforts, the transition to electric buses is firmly underway. China is adding 9,500 electric buses every five weeks despite the fact that some of the reliability criticism has been aimed at Chinese-made BYD buses. But meanwhile, electric buses from Proterra, an American company, are doing very well in cities across Southern California.
With respect to cost, the projected decline in battery costs is likely to make electric buses cost-competitive with diesel by 2026. By then, nearly half of the worldwide bus fleets are expected to be electric.
Electric buses are better for public health (by reducing local air pollution from burning diesel), better for the climate (by reducing emissions and reliance on fossil fuels) and make economic sense with regard to the full cost of moving passengers.
Photo, posted February 4, 2017, courtesy of Hans Johnson via Flickr.