The Future of Our Buses is Electric

As urban areas grow, the need for sustainable public transportation is becoming more and more crucial.  Emissions from internal combustion engines (gas or diesel) are one of the main sources of pollution that harm our air quality. Exhaust from these engines are especially dangerous to children and can put them at greater risk for respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Reducing these emissions by encouraging the use of sustainable transit helps improve our environment as well as public health outcomes.

A newly released report published by Bloomberg predicts a very promising future for electric buses. The report found that switching from conventional to electric buses would not only be helpful for air quality, it would also save money in the long term.

Despite the higher up-front costs, electric buses have a much lower operating cost than conventional buses, mainly because of the significantly lower maintenance costs and the cost of electricity is less than the cost of diesel fuel. Further, they will significantly help in reducing global oil consumption. If electric vehicle sales are as predicted in the report, then we can expect 7.3 million barrels of oil to be displaced by 2040.

According to the report, electric vehicle sales have gone from just a few hundred thousand in 2014 to 1.6 million this year. This is largely due to a sharp decline in prices of lithium-ion batteries but it’s also thanks to the progression of the models of electric cars and new regulations regarding fuel, diesel, and urban pollution.

By 2040, 80% of city buses throughout the world are predicted to be electric. Currently, China accounts for 99% of the electric bus market with nearly 300,000 electric buses on the road. Within the next few decades, European countries, the U.S., and other countries will make strides in this direction. The main switch to the use of electric vehicles is predicted to happen in the 2020s when the number of internal combustion engine cars is expected to decline rapidly.

NYLCVEF is working to encourage electric buses right here in New York, where more than 2 million children ride to school on a diesel school bus each day and over 420,000 have asthma. Through our Clean Buses for Healthy Niños campaign, we have started a petition to ask Governor Cuomo and his administration to fund electric school buses in environmental justice communities. If you haven’t already, you can sign the petition here

We hope that the use of electric buses continues to become more ubiquitous globally. If 80% municipal buses are switched from internal combustion engines to electric by 2040 as predicted, this will have great impacts on air quality for New Yorkers.