China may be one of the most polluting countries on the planet, but it is investing in sustainable technologies at a rapid pace to reduce its impact on the environment, as well as benefit citizens’ health. One way the Communist nation is accomplishing this is by rolling out an entire fleet of fully electric buses in the megacity of Shenzhen. By the end of 2017, all 16,000 of the city’s buses will be fully electric.
This is a huge development. After all, in the United States, only 300 out of 65,000 buses are electric. Shenzhen’s fleet of over 15,000 buses will run on clean energy. As such, it will become the first city in the world to accomplish such a feat.
Fast Company reports that the shift was driven by the national and local government. Both offer subsidies that reduce the cost of electric buses so they compare price-wise to regular buses. This makes it easier for citizens and companies to “go green” and help tackle the country’s smog problem.
Said Xiangyi Li, a research analyst at the Ross Center for Sustainable Cities at the research organization World Resources Institute: “China wants to have a strong electric bus industry, so they put in a lot of effort on the innovation and the technology.”
Because the buses do not require fuel, they are cheaper to operate than diesel buses. They are also less costly to maintain. Additionally, riders can enjoy the advantages of not having to wait on streets which are polluted with smog. “When the bus is stopped, there’s no noise at all,” Li says.
All in all, progress have been swift. In 2015, there were 3,600 buses on the city’s streets. In 2016, there were 9,000. Now, there are presently 15,000 buses, and the remaining 1,000 will be launched by the end of the year.
Unveiling electric buses is part of the city’s plan to clean up the air in the city of approximately 11.9 million. By 2020, all of Shenzhen’s taxis will be electric, along with a growing number of cars and trucks. And by switching all buses to be electric, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 58 percent, compared to diesel. China may secure its title as a leader in “new energy vehicle manufacturing” yet.