skrivet av Ella Rebalski (RISE Viktoria)
The end of October marked two major events in the electric bus world: the publication of the ZeEUS eBus Report #2 from the Zero Emissions Urban Bus Systems (ZeEUS) EU progamme , and an announcement from 12 of the C40 cities, whose mayors have committed to only buy zero emission buses from 2025 and to make major areas fossil-fuel free from 2030 through the signing of a Fossil-Fuel Free Streets Declaration (FFFS Declaration) . The ZeEUS report gives detailed information on electric bus projects happening in many of these cities, including which companies are supplying the vehicles and the charging infrastructure. The C40 declaration was made by the mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle and Auckland, so it represents initiative from cities outside of Europe as well.
What are the C40 cities?
C40 stands for the C40 Cities Climate Leadership group, and is a network of more than 90 of the world’s largest cities. It was started in 2005 by the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone . Their goal is to use political action at the city level to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens” . The 12 cities that signed the FFFS Declaration committed to “procuring, with our partners, only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensuring a major area of our city is zero emission by 2030” . The Declaration does not explain what constitutes a ‘major area’.
This is not the first such declaration that C40 countries have made. In 2015 the C40 created a Clean Bus Declaration, which stated that signatory cities were “committed to reducing emissions from the transportation sector and improving air quality through the introduction of low and ultimately zero emission buses in our fleets” . The FFFS Declaration seems to take this a step further, by committing to not only the procurement of zero-emissions buses, but also by increasing walking, cycling, and public transportation options for citizens . The 12 signatories to the Fossil-Fuel Free Streets declaration account for a combined 59 000 buses .
Current or Past Electric Bus Initiatives in These Cities
According to the ZeEUS report , many of these cities were already taking action on low-emissions buses prior to signing the declaration:
Copenhagen aims to procure only electric buses, or buses that “offer similar environmental and noise properties” after 2019, and by 2031 to have 100% electric or similar buses. The city is currently trialling electric buses with opportunity charging, and from 2014-2015 did trials with overnight charging.
Paris has an electric bus line operating now on weekdays from 7.00 – 20.30, carrying more than 8 800 passengers every day and charging overnight, as part of a program to test battery life and drivetrain performance, and to “analyse how the line’s operations and maintenance are affected”.
Milan has been running two electric buses on one line since March 2014. They operate for 10 hours each day and charge overnight at the depot.
Barcelona has had multiple demonstration projects testing three different types of fully electric buses: Irizar i2e, BYD K9, and Solaris Urbino. The only electric bus still in operation in Barcelona is
a slow-charging 12 metre Irizar i2e, which has been running since May 2016 and operates for 8 hours a day.
In London there are 71 electric buses in the fleet, and the city aims to bring that number to 170 by 2019.
Los Angeles was the recipient of BYD’s first 18-metre fully electric bus. LA’s Antelope Valley Transit Authority will purchase 13 electric buses by 2018.
Seattle will purchase 72 Proterra electric buses by 2020, and after 2020 all new purchases by the King County Metro Transit will be electric.
Vancouver’s TransLink already has trolleybuses, but as of 2017 the authority purchased four electric buses and two charging systems for opportunity charging as part of a pilot project.
Cape Town has purchased 11 battery-powered electric buses from BYD through a public procurement tender process. The vehicles will be assembled locally, and the lines will open in 2018.
Auckland trialled a BYD e-bus in 2017 as part of a larger program in New Zealand.
Mexico City and Quito are not mentioned in the ZeEUS report.
Neither the text of the Clean Bus Declaration, or the press release for the Fossil-Fuel Free Streets Declaration mention consequences for not meeting the committed targets, although the Fossil-Fuel Free Streets Declaration signatories will be required to report back on their activity every two years [5, 6].
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of activity happening on the electric bus market today, but it’s important to remember that a lot of this activity is concentrated in certain regions. The full ZeEUS report is over 170 pages covering 90 cities, and many different manufacturers and system suppliers. It is certainly an incredible amount of information on the state of electric bus operations in Europe today, and it also shows the current status of business development and operations in countries or regions that are major players in the market (there are a few pages at the beginning of the report devoted to this). The C40 declarations almost seems to be a promise to continue doing what cities all over the world have already started, rather than being a ground-breaking commitment. There were only 12 cities that signed the FFFS declaration, but there are more than 90 that have now trialled and/or purchased zero emission buses, and according to the map at the end of the ZeEUS report, that number could more than double in the coming years.
But one area that is covered by the FFFS Declaration, and not the ZeEUS report, is South America. South American cities are not mentioned at all in the ZeEUS report, but Mexico City and Quito have signed the FFFS Declaration. Mexico City in particular is a huge mega city with massive pollution problems, so it’s involvement in an initiative like the FFFS Declaration is incredibly important.
 Launch of the ZeEUS eBus Report #2 at Busworld 2017. 24 Oct 2017. Link.
 Twelve big cities to buy zero emissions buses, extend green areas. Reuters. 23 Oct 2017. Link.
 C40 Cities Climates Leadership Group. Wikipedia. Link.
 C40 Cities. Link.
 Our Commitment to Green and Healthy Streets C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration. C40 Cities. 23 Oct 2017. Link.
 C40 Cities Clean Bus Declaration of Intent. 2015. Link.
 ZeEUS eBus Report #2: An updated overview of electric buses in Europe. 2017. Link.