Electric Buses Reduce Fuel Consumption, Air Pollution

Electric Buses Reduce Fuel Consumption, Air PollutionElectric Buses Reduce Fuel Consumption, Air Pollution

Electric buses were seen as a joke at an industry conference in Belgium seven years ago when the Chinese manufacturer BYD Co. showed an early model. “Everyone was laughing at BYD for making a toy,” recalled Isbrand Ho, the Shenzhen-based company’s managing director in Europe. “And look now. Everyone has one,” Bloomberg reported. Suddenly, buses with battery-powered motors are a serious matter with the potential to revolutionize city transport—and add to the forces reshaping the energy industry.

With China leading the way, making the traditional smog-belching diesel behemoth run on electricity is starting to eat away at fossil fuel demand. The numbers are staggering. China had about 99% of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17% of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet, Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported.

All this is starting to make an observable reduction in fuel demand. And because diesel buses consume 30 times more fuel than average sized cars, the impact of electric buses on decreasing fuel demand has become much greater than the passenger sedans produced by Tesla and Toyota.

For every 1,000 battery-powered buses on the road, about 500 barrels a day of diesel fuel will be displaced from the market, according to BNEF calculations. This year, the volume of fuel buses take off the market may rise by 37% to 279,000 barrels a day, about as much oil as Greece consumes, according to BNEF.

“This segment is approaching the tipping point,” said Colin Mckerracher, the head of advanced transport at the London-based research unit of Bloomberg LP.  China is ahead on electrifying its bus fleet because it has the world’s worst pollution problem.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints