Barriers to Adopting Electric Buses

Electric buses, which have zero tailpipe emissions, hold the potential to provide outsized air quality and climate benefits. Faster adoption of cleaner buses is an important part of the bigger climate solution, helping put cities on track towards sustainability. Despite the promise of electric buses, however, their adoption has been uneven and varied in scale. Implementation has not accelerated fast enough for the world to meet transport-related climate objectives.

This report identifies and presents the main barriers that cities face when implementing e-buses, especially in the global south. The barriers outlined in this report are meant to serve as cautionary tales. The intent of this publication is to provide a map of hazards to help guide high-level planning officials safely along the road to electric bus adoption.

Based on analysis from 16 case studies and the literature, this report provides a matrix of barriers facing electric bus adoption. Barriers are categorized by three general barriers to clean energy innovation, technological, financial, and institutional barriers; and three key elements of electric buses, vehicles and batteries, agencies and operators, and grid and charging infrastructure.

Common obstacles identified in this report include lack of operational knowledge on electric bus systems; unfamiliar procurement and financing schemes; and institutional deficiencies in terms of authority, funding, and land for the adaptations needed.


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