Large demographic changes are taking place around the world as a result of urbanization. This has increased the demand for efficient, environmentally friendly and agile public transport. Thanks to major technological progress and quick recharging of electric buses, new opportunities have arisen. The number of cities around the world which have chosen to invest in electric buses is so high; it’s fair to call it a paradigm shift.
China is the country that has the highest number of completely electrically driven buses in operation. In London, the first completely electrically driven bus route starts in September. There are demo projects of electric buses in commercial operation in more than 20 countries including Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Italy, South Korea, Japan, China, the US, Canada and some South American countries. In Sweden, the electric bus is becoming an alternative in more and more cities. They are already on the streets in Umeå, Stockholm and Gothenburg and two of the Volvo Group’s new completely electrical buses were launched in June on route 55 in Gothenburg.
The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce recently issued the report The future bus is electric – invest in electric buses rather than tramway. The Chamber of Commerce puts forward the advantages with investing in electric buses rather than trams in the city center of Stockholm. In Sweden’s capital, the number of inhabitants increase with 35,000 per year, generating great demands for an environmentally friendly public transport system with high capacity.
In the report, Stockholm’s Chamber of Commerce, makes a comparison between electric buses and trams, demonstrating that it would mean considerable cost, impact on the environment and traffic disruptions to build tramways in the existing road network. According to the report, the impact on the environment alone would be so huge that it would not be possible to redeem it during the lifecycle of the tramway. Electric buses on the other hand, would only require minor adjustments in the road network and would therefore provide a much more cost efficient and environmentally friendly overall solution. The conclusion of the report is that electric buses is a cheaper and better alternative compared to tramways as well as to buses fuelled by diesel or ethanol.*
*Electric buses have considerably higher efficiency compared to systems driven by combustion engines. The efficiency of a combustion engine is 35-45% compared to 95% for an electrical engine. This makes buses run on electricity two to three times more efficient. An electric bus network therefore only need one third to half of the energy required by a network with buses driven by combustion engines.
The report is now available in swedish and you can download it here.