Over the last few years, the Chinese government has begun to push electric vehicles with all its might.
In addition to incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles, the central government has recently banned the sale of some 553 fossil-fuel passenger cars in the country.
But when it comes to local concerns, a collection of municipalities, cities, and other regional governments can make big impacts by changing mass transit strategies—and the city of Shenzhen has done just that by converting its entire bus fleet to electric drive.
According to Shenzhen Daily, an English-language paper in the city, Shenzhen is the first city to have an all-electric bus fleet in the world.
It also claims to have the largest electric bus fleet, with 16,359 buses in operation, and the largest fleet of electric taxis, with 12,518 electric vehicles representing 62.5 percent of that overall fleet.
“We will gradually replace the existing fuel-powered cabs with electricity-powered ones and complete the target by 2020, or even ahead of schedule,” said Zheng Jingyu, head of the public transport department of the city’s public transport administration bureau.
BYD K9 electric bus cockpit, by Linuxthink (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]
To support the massive fleet of electric buses, the city has installed 501 bus charging stations and 8,000 charging poles around the city and in bus stations.
“Since the replacement, the [Quinhu Bus Terminal] has become quiet, even as the e-buses are entering and exiting the terminal,” said Guan Anguang, assistant manager of the terminal.
This is how the new buses and taxis compare to their conventional counterparts with regards to energy use, according to Shenzhen Daily:
The electric buses use 72.9 percent less energy than diesel buses. In a year, the buses could save the energy equivalent of 366,000 tons of standard coal, replacing 345,000 tons of fuel, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1.35 million tons.
The e-taxis will save the energy equivalent of 119,000 tons of standard coal, replacing 116,000 tons of fuel.
But not all is good in Shenzhen.
A story by EyeShenzhen details the suspended service of a local e-bike rental operator in the city.
According to the operator, the suspension wasn't due to financial difficulties—the service owns 800 e-bikes and has 76,000 registered users—but the bikes didn't adhere to a decades-old law that stipulates they must weigh a maximum of 20 kg (44 lbs) and have a top speed of 20 km/h (12 mph).