Electric buses could pioneer a new age of clean and efficient urban transport and put cities on track towards sustainability. However, electric bus adoption is not accelerating fast enough for the world to meet transport-related global climate objectives and help limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.

The aim of this report is to fill in knowledge gaps and provide actionable guidance for transit agencies and bus operating entities to help them overcome the most common and debilitating barriers to electric bus adoption. It provides a step-by-step guidance to establish and achieve electric bus adoption targets using concrete and diverse real-world experiences.

Transit agencies and bus operating entities are encouraged to maximize electric bus adoption targets based on local conditions and to develop a responsible strategy for implementation. They should be actively involved in planning and analysis; be serious about piloting and testing projects; and collaborate with city policymakers and other stakeholders to accelerate a responsible adoption of electric buses.

Key Findings

  • Electric bus adoption projects should be planned and carried out in a thoughtful way. For initial planning and small-scale projects, five steps should be followed: consider the existing policy landscape; conduct an initial analysis to understand costs, benefits, stakeholders, and constraints; plan and launch a structured pilot project; collect local data, update the initial cost-benefit analysis, and explore financing options; and set actionable and time-bound targets for long-term and large-scale adoption.
  • For the mass adoption of large-scale electric bus projects, at least four components should be considered: formalizing and implementing a long-term infrastructure plan for large-scale electric bus fleets; formalizing and implementing e-bus procurement plans adjusted to city conditions, and financial instruments to reduce costs and risks; providing training to bus operators based on international best practices and local experiences; and planning for the end-of-use of the buses, especially their batteries.
  • Cities adopting electric buses can be categorized into five development stages, depending on policy readiness and on-the-ground implementation level, and cities may take different actions depending on their development stage to ensure quality adoption and enhancement.
  • Transit agencies and bus operating entities play a key role in electric bus adoption. They should be actively involved at the planning and analysis stages of a city’s electric bus adoption projects, together with city policymakers and utility companies; be serious about piloting and testing projects, using them as valuable learning tools to improve planning and operation; and consider the long-term environmental and social benefits of clean technology.

Executive Summary

Full executive summary available in the paper.