In 2020, buses made up roughly 7% of global transport emissions. Current diesel-powered bus fleets pose environmental, health and safety concerns. Some cities in the global south, from Colombia to India to Brazil, are demonstrating how to rethink public transit systems and mobility by incorporating new, cleaner technologies.  But while transformations are happening at the city level, a general lack of coordination between geographies and within regions is slowing down increased adoption of electric bus technologies. WRI’s e-bus adoption studies have revealed six key barriers to adoption: lack of operational knowledge, technical limitations, inflexible procurement practices, non-scalable financing, institutional limitations and pilot paralysis.

To address barriers and achieve large-scale change, the TUMI E-Bus Mission, part of the Action Towards Climate Friendly Transport (ACT) initiative and Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), supported by BMZ, incorporates both deep transition support in a select group of cities, and national and regional scaling between cities. Providing deep technical assistance to 20 “deep dive” cities within a narrow geographic range creates localized momentum that can be used to drive greater subnational and national action.

The objective of the TUMI E-Bus Mission is to facilitate the adoption of more than 100,000 e-buses, which will result in an estimated reduction of more than 15 megatons of CO2 over the useful lives of the vehicles. The ecosystem developed by the TUMI E-Bus Mission may also aid future types of transport electrification.

The TUMI E-Bus Mission works in three areas:

1. Coalition Building

WRI supports partners in growing and strengthening global, national, regional and local coalitions. At the global level, the TUMI E-Bus Mission requires a broad coalition of stakeholders to address the challenges in e-bus adoption. At the regional and city levels, WRI local offices and partners establish “sub-coalitions” to provide locally relevant support to cities and develop capacity among key stakeholders. TUMI’s collaborative approach reflects the growth in collaboration between industry, non-profits and government to enable change. 

2. Direct Technical Assistance

WRI helps define e-bus adoption targets that are timebound, ambitious and achievable in each city. To help cities achieve these targets, WRI and its partners are developing a tailored implementation workplan for each city. Regional and local partners will lead efforts to implement these workplans through formal adoption in cities, as well as by providing a range of technical assistance and evaluating city progress. Peer-to-peer network exchanges, direct access to industry experts and a focused regional approach will overcome persistent barriers to initial e-bus adoption and create sustainable industry investment and deployment.

3. Regional Scaling

To scale e-bus adoption, WRI will extend best practices to a city network over the course of the project. These materials explore overall planning for e-bus mass adoption, operations and logistics considerations, financing, procurement strategies, and training requirements for bus operators and maintenance teams. The city network will benefit from access to the coalition’s knowledge and technical resources. 

TUMI E-Bus Mission projects map

Cover image credit: Daniel Cano Gomez/WRI