SHENZHEN has become the world's first city to electrify 100 percent of its public transit bus fleet, the city's transport commission said yesterday.
The city is also home to the largest fleet of electric buses - 16,359 so far - and electric taxis in the world, the commission said at a press conference. A total of 12,518 taxis, or 62.5 percent of all taxis in the city, run on electricity.
"We will gradually replace the existing fuel-powered cabs with electricity-powered ones and complete the target by 2020, or even ahead of schedule," said Zheng Jingyu, head of the public transport department of the city's public transport administration bureau.
In 2018, the remaining 500 green cabs that are restricted from Futian, Luohu, Nanshan and Yantian districts, which constituted the former Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, will be replaced with electric cabs and be allowed to operate citywide.
A bus driver surnamed Wang of Route M211 started to drive electric buses a month ago, following the replacement.
"We had several rounds of training and passed strict exams before we were allowed to drive the e-buses," he said.
The city has built 501 bus charging stations and 8,000 charging poles.
At Qinghu Bus Terminal, the Western Bus Group installed more than 30 charging poles in September.
"A bus can be fully charged within two hours and the charging poles can serve 300 buses a day," said Guan Anguang, assistant manager of the terminal.
"Since the replacement, the bus terminal has become quiet, even as the e-buses are entering and exiting the terminal," Guan said.
"The wide use of electric buses and cabs plays a significant role in improving air quality and constructing a beautiful Shenzhen," said Lou Heru, vice head of the city's transport commission.
The electric buses use 72.9 percent less energy than diesel buses. In a year, the buses could save the energy equivalent of 366,000 tons of standard coal, replacing 345,000 tons of fuel, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1.35 million tons. The e-taxis will save the energy equivalent of 119,000 tons of standard coal, replacing 116,000 tons of fuel.
Shenzhen was chosen in 2009 as one of the 13 cities to pilot a national new-energy vehicle program.
In 2017, the city offered 3.3 billion yuan (US$490 million) in susidies for e-buses and the construction of charging facilities. The city has encouraged cab operators and private investors to invest in charging poles and stations for e-taxis.