The transition to electric buses aims to better air quality, reduced noise, increased energy efficiency and climate-neutrality in the Stockholm region
The public transport authority of Stockholm County, SL, carries out comprehensive environmental work, based on the environmental programme of Region Stockholm, and is constantly seeking new, environmentally friendly solutions. SL has today already 100 percent renewable fuels in buses through the world's largest fleet of ethanol-powered buses and buses that run on biogas and other renewables. For light rail, commuter trains, metro lines and other electric powered transportations SL procures and uses only electricity from renewable sources.
The aim of the transition to electric buses is to take a furtherstep towards zero-emissions in the Stockholm region and contribute to better air quality and reduced noise for the inhabitants as well as greenhouse gas free public transports. From a climate perspective, a switch to electric buses (from biofuels) is also strategically important because it frees up limited amounts of sustainable biofuels to other sectors of society which cannot so easily be electrified. The transition to electric buses is good for energy efficiency since electric motors have approximately three times higher efficiency compared to combustion engines. Hybrid technologies, eco-driving and transport planning are other tools that should be used to reach the environmental goals.
The potential for procuring electric buses for the public transport in Stockholm, especially in the densely built up areas have been studied and is considered to be very high.
The public transport is funded through tax and passenger fees. Electric buses are often more expensive than conventional buses, however have lower operational costs. Future contracts must take this into account when procuring bus services.
Evidence of success
Considering all challenges before is good for a fast transition. Since autumn 2018 the city core of Norrtälje municipality have a totally electrified bus-fleet, and in June 2019 the city of Märsta in Sigtuna municipality will have five new electric buses. Around 100 electric buses will start running in city cores in the region during 2019 and 2020, and 100 electric buses will be running in the inner city of Stockholm before 2022. The aim is to have 1500, i.e. 70 %, electric buses in ten years.
Since the public transport authority do not own the buses it is important to emphasize the role of procurement and consider both the business side and environmental goals in planning for a fast transition.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice of Stockholm Region’s transition towards electric buses is especially interesting if you take into account the ongoing environmental work that electrification is a part of. Stockholm Region has worked with environmental programmes and long-term goals since the 90’s and this hard work has led to high performance in energy efficiency, low GHG emissions as well as high social standards. However there is always a need to improve and electrification has been lagging behind.
Success factors for organisations are therefore: to develop policy goals, to work long-term, and to follow-up regularly. For lowering climate impact of public transportation, a recommendation from the study is to not only focus on electrification but to use a combination of different renewable fuels.
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