Shenzhen’s transition to the world’s largest fully-electric fleet
Shenzhen, China boasts the largest electric bus fleet in the world. Hallie Liao and Chris Liang of the International Development Department at Shenzhen Bus Group spoke to Intelligent Transport’s Luke Antoniou about the transition to e-mobility and the challenges that came with becoming fully electric.
How did Shenzhen’s bus fleet come to be the largest fully-electric fleet in the world?
Liao: The process of electrification started around a decade ago. In 2008, the central government and municipal government of China were introducing specific policies to battle air pollution in the country. Electrifying public transport and private vehicles was one of the most important ways for them to achieve this, so specific policies were rolled out to incentivise city governments and operators (which are predominantly state-owned enterprises in China) to begin this process.
Shenzhen Bus Group is slightly different to 99 per cent of the other operators in China. Our majority shareholder is the municipal government, and our second largest is Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) from Hong Kong. This gives us a more market orientated approach in the way we look at our operations.
A steady line of communication and constant feedback from manufacturers and suppliers to charging facility providers are key to the success of electrification
We started running trials for an electric fleet in 2010. Our first electric bus fleet began operation during the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen. We procured most of our electric buses between 2015 and 2017, transitioning approximately 3,000-5,000 of our fleet to fully electric buses. It’s no coincidence that during this time subsidies from both central government and the municipal government in Shenzhen were at their highest. We completed our electrification in 2017 and converted all of our taxis to electric in 2018.