Battery electric bus

A battery electric bus is an electric bus that is driven by an electric motor and obtains energy from on-board batteries. Many trolleybuses use batteries as an auxiliary or emergency power source.

Solaris Urbino 12 electric from Braunschweiger Verkehrs-GmbH (Germany) at an inductive charging station at the front of Braunschweig Hauptbahnhof

In 2018, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that total operating costs per mile of an electric bus fleet and a diesel bus fleet in the United States are about equal.


ABB's TOSA Flash Mobility, Clean City, Smart Bus charging station in Geneva, Switzerland

The London Electrobus Company started running the first ever service of battery-electric buses between London's Victoria station and Liverpool Street on 15 July 1907. However, the weight and inefficiency of batteries meant that other propulsion technology - such as electric trolleybuses or diesel buses - became commonplace.

The first battery buses were mostly small, mini- or midi- buses. The improvement of battery technology from around 2010 led to the emergence of the mass-produced battery bus, including heavier units such as 12.2-meter (40 ft) standard buses and articulated buses. China was the first country to introduce modern battery electric buses in large scale. In 2009 Shanghai catenary bus lines began switching to battery buses.[1] In September 2010, Chinese automobile company BYD began manufacturing the BYD K9, one of the most popular electric buses

The first city to heavily invest in electric buses was Shenzhen, China. The city began rolling out electric buses made by BYD in 2011, with the objective of having a fully electric fleet. By 2017, Shenzhen's entire fleet of over 16,300 buses was replaced with electric buses, the largest fleet of electric buses of any city in the world.[2]

According to Bloomberg, "China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet." Chinese cities are adding 1,900 electric buses per week.[3]


Charging electric bus batteries is not as simple as refueling a diesel engine. Special attention, monitoring, and scheduling are required to make optimal use of the charging process, while also ensuring proper battery maintenance and safekeeping. Some operators manage these challenges by purchasing extra buses. This way the charging can take place only at night, which has the further advantage of mitigating the strain on the power grid since charging is then taking place while power consumption elsewhere is minimal. While this is a safe solution, it is also very costly and not scalable.[4] Another solution is ensuring that the vehicle daily schedule takes into account also the need to charge, keeping the overall schedule as close to optimal as possible.[5] Today, there are various software companies that help bus operators manage their electric bus charging schedule. These solutions ensure that buses continue to operate safely, without any unplanned stops and inconvenience to passengers.[5]

Supercapacitors can be charged rapidly, reducing the time needed to prepare to resume operation.[6]

The lowered charging plate on an Arriva Shires & Essex Wright StreetLite EV bus whilst using induction to recharge its batteries at the Wolverton Agora bus stop.

The Society of Automotive Engineers has published Recommended Practice SAE J3105 to standardize physical automated connection interfaces for conductive charging systems since 2020.[7] For communication between charger and electric bus the same ISO 15118 protocol is used as for passenger car charging. The only differences are in the charging power, voltage and physical interface.[8][9]

Pantographs and underbody collectors can be integrated in bus stops to quicken electric bus recharge, making it possible to use a smaller battery on the bus, which reduces the initial investment and subsequent costs.[10][11][12][13][14]

Advantages and disadvantages


Battery electric buses offer the potential for zero-emissions, in addition to much quieter operation and better acceleration compared to traditional buses. They also eliminate infrastructure needed for a constant grid connection and allow routes to be modified without infrastructure changes, in contrast with a trolleybus. They typically recover braking energy to increase efficiency by a regenerative brake. With energy consumption of about 1.2 kW⋅h/km (4.3 MJ/km; 1.9 kW⋅h/mi), the cost of ownership is lower than diesel buses.[15][16]


As of 2016 battery buses have less range, higher weight, higher procurement costs. The reduced infrastructure for overhead lines is offset by the costs of the infrastructure to recharge the batteries. In addition, the additional weight of batteries in a battery-electric bus means that they have a lower passenger capacity than trolleybuses in jurisdictions where there is a legal limit on axle loads on roads. Battery buses are used almost exclusively in urban areas rather than for long-haul transportation. Urban transit features relatively short intervals between charging opportunities. Sufficient recharging can take place within 4 to 5 minutes (250 to 450 kW [340 to 600 hp]) usually by induction or catenary.[15] Finally, as with other electric-powered alternatives to fossil-fueled engines, battery electric buses are not a truly zero-emission solution if the power grid they rely on for charging is not also free of fossil fuel energy sources. The lithium batteries may also contribute to environmental pollution around the world where lithium mining takes place.

Total operating cost per mile

NREL publishes zero-emission bus evaluation results from various commercial operators. NREL published following total operating cost per mile: with County Connection, for June 2017 through May 2018, for an 8-vehicle diesel bus fleet, the total operating cost per mile was $0.84; for a 4-vehicle electric bus fleet, $1.11;[17] with Long Beach Transit, for 2018, for a 10-vehicle electric bus fleet, $0.85;[18] and with Foothill Transit, for 2018, for a 12-vehicle electric bus fleet, $0.84.[19][20]



  • The largest battery bus fleet is in Shenzhen, China - with over 16,000 buses.[2]
  • In 2015 BYD planned to launch the first battery-double-decker bus.[21]
  • In Gumi, South Korea in 2013 a road section was modified to allow inductive charging while driving. The technology was to be tested with two electric buses.[22]
  • In 2015, BYD aimed to sell 6,000 of its buses worldwide.[23] BYD is the world leader in the sale of electric vehicles.[24]
  • In Iran in 2021 the first electrical bus manufactured by Parsan Electrical Bus Manufacturing Company with the brand name of SHETAB.[25][26]


  • In 2011, bus manufacturer Contrac Cobus Industries from Wiesbaden announced the Cobus 2500e.
  • In autumn 2012, Czech manufacturer Inmod supplied a 8-meter-long (26 ft) vehicle has 22 seats, 35 standing places and a range of 160–170 kilometers (99–106 mi) a day, up to 220–260 km (140–160 mi) can be extended. The bus is recharged with a quick charger twice a day for one hour. Its maximum speed is 80 km/h (50 mph).[27]
  • Beginning in 2012, the Wiener Linien on bus routes 2A and 3A use electric buses. They are charged to the end user via a pantograph, which is applied to short catenary pieces. These are fed by the tram catenary. The cars have a range of around 150 kilometers (93 mi).[28]
  • In May 2013, a battery bus began running between the airport and Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland. This bus can be partially charged within 15 seconds. At the end of the line the charging process takes three to four minutes. The project cost five million francs.[29]
  • In December 2013, BYD Auto electric buses entered service in London on two routes.[30]
  • The Regional Transport Ruhr-Lippe GmbH (RLG) (Germany) began operating an electric minibus as a Quartierbus in May 2013. Vehicle range is approximately 120 kilometers (75 mi). Recharging takes about three hours when fully discharged. Recharging consumes over 1.5 hours during the lunch break.[31]
  • In 2013 battery buses entered service in the Netherlands.[32]
  • In Germany in 2013 battery buses were undergoing tests in Bremen and in Bonn.[32]
  • In Braunschweig battery buses entered regular service at the end of 2013. The "Emil" (Electromobility means of inductive load) project uses inductive charging.[33][34] Both vehicles and charging stations were developed with Bombardier.[35]
  • Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems began testing battery buses on November 3, 2014.[36] On June 17, 2015 passenger service began on the first route in Saxony. A four-minute stop at the last stop provides sufficient charge, with a high-power charger to preheat the passenger compartment.[37]
  • The Munich public transport company began testing battery buses in 2008. Experiments with Ebusco vehicles of were expected to reach a range of 300 km (190 mi) using lithium iron phosphate batteries.[38]
  • In Pinneberg testing began in 2014.[39]
  • In September 2015 four battery buses entered service in Berlin. The Solaris Urbino 12 charge by induction at the last stop.[40][41]
  • In July 2015 the Schleswig-Holstein Rendsburg purchased a Sileo battery bus with a range of 200 km (120 mi) for 450,000 euros. The bus does not charge during operation and can be operated for half a day. The bus is charged from a rooftop photovoltaic system.[42]
  • In Bonn test entered regular service in 2013. The range is at least 200 km (120 mi).[43]
  • In 2015, the world's first battery electric double decker bus entered service in London.[44]
  • Botosani, Romania planned for public transport to operate fully electrically. at a conversion cost of 20 million euros.[45]
  • As of 2022, there are over 1,000 electric buses operating in Moscow.[46] This is the largest electric bus fleet in Europe ahead of London's fleet of around 780 buses.[47]

North America

See also


  1. Shanghai: Investitionen im Netz bleiben aus, Meldung auf vom 12. November 2012
  2. Ximin, Han. "All Shenzhen public buses now electric 全球规模最大!深圳专营公交车辆实现纯电动化". Weixin Official Accounts Platform. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  3. "Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry". Bloomberg News. 2018-04-23. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  4. "The Myth of Whole-Home Battery Backup". Retrieved 2022-06-18.
  5. Watt, Adrienne (2014-08-14). "2. Project Management Overview". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. MIT-Technology Review: Next Stop: Ultracapacitor Buses, aufgerufen 18. November 2013
  7. "Electric Vehicle Power Transfer System Using Conductive Automated Connection Devices". SAE International. January 20, 2020. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  8. Köhler, Sebastian; Baker, Richard; Strohmeier, Martin; Martinovic, Ivan (February 2022). "Brokenwire: Wireless Disruption of CCS Electric Vehicle Charging". arXiv:2202.02104.
  9. US20180001776A1, KIM, Ji Hown; Yang, Chang Min & Lee, So Jin, "In-cable control box mounted on electric vehicle charging cable and method for charging electric vehicle using the same", issued 2018-01-04
  10. Large-capacity, flash-charging, battery-powered pilot bus takes to the street.
  11. "Current collectors for electric busses". Schunk Carbon Technology. Archived from the original on 2017-01-21. Retrieved 2019-09-18.
  12. Golson, Jordan. "A Giant Charger That Juices Up Electric Buses in Three Minutes". Wired.
  13. Ultrafast Electric Bus Charging, Opbrid
  14. Trolley:Motion, 27. Mai 2013: Shanghai - Weitere Reduzierung des Trolleybusnetzes - ungewisse Zukunft Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, aufgerufen 8. Oktober 2013
  15. Fraunhofer-Institut für Verkehrs- und Infrastruktursysteme Praxistest mit einem Fahrzeug zwischen 03.11.2014 bis zum 30.01.2015
  16. BYD erhält Rekordbestellung über 2000 eBusse und 1000 Elektroautos Archived 2016-01-06 at the Wayback Machine V. 12. May 2014. Retrieved, 15 July 2015.
  17. Eudy, Leslie; Jeffers, Matthew (2018), Zero-Emission Bus Evaluation Results: County Connection Battery Electric Buses (PDF), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP-5400-72864
  18. Eudy, Leslie; Jeffers, Matthew (2020), Zero-Emission Bus Evaluation Results: Long Beach Transit Battery Electric Buses, Federal Transit Administration, doi:10.21949/1518335
  19. Eudy, Leslie; Jeffers, Matthew (2018), Foothill Transit Agency Battery Electric Bus Progress Report: Data Period Focus: Jan. 2018 through Jun. 2018 (PDF), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP-5400-72207
  20. Eudy, Leslie; Jeffers, Matthew (2018), Foothill Transit Agency Battery Electric Bus Progress Report: Data Period Focus: Jul. 2018 through Dec. 2018 (PDF), National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP-5400-72209
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  22., 8. August 2013: Südkorea setzt Straßen unter Strom, aufgerufen 21. Oktober 2013
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  24. China’s BYD is World’s Largest EV Manufacturer vom 28. Dezember 2015. Retrieved, 6 January 2016.
  25. "SHETAB electrical bus, the first vehicle designed with PLM technology in Iran". Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  26. "اتوبوس برقی شتاب، اولین خودروی طراحی شده با فناوری PLM در ایران". روزنامه دنیای اقتصاد (in Persian). Retrieved 2021-04-27.
  27. Der SOR-Elektrobus auf Archived February 28, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  28. Elektrobusse ab 2013 in der City. auf, retrieved, 10 September 2012.
  29. DOSSIER DE PRESSE AVRIL 2013, TOSA Archived 2015-08-29 at the Wayback Machine (PDF; 543 kB)
  30. "London's first pure electric 'emission free' buses hit the streets". Transport for London. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  31. GmbH, Regionalverkehr Ruhr-Lippe. "Seite nicht gefunden". Archived from the original on 2016-03-14.
  32. newstixs, 30. Juni 2013: Elektromobilität für Bonn: Positive Testergebnisse mit chinesischem Elektrobus, aufgerufen 16. Juli 2013
  33. Braunschweiger Verkehrs AG: Elektrobusse mit induktiver Ladetechnik – der Schritt in ein neues Zeitalter Archived August 20, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, aufgerufen 8. Oktober 2013
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  35., 11. September 2013: Bombardier: Primove-Station in Braunschweig in Betrieb, aufgerufen 8. Oktober 2013
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  46. "ГУП «Мосгортранс»: В город вышел юбилейный 1000-й электробус". Retrieved 2021-12-28.
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  48. EarthTechling, 4. November 2013: Electric School Bus Idea Set To Debut In California, aufgerufen 16. November 2013
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  50. "Aktuell – SAT.1 REGIONAL". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  51., 12. Februar 2016: BYD: Großauftrag für Elektrobusse aus Kalifornien, aufgerufen 8. März 2016
  52., 17. Februar 2016: Kalifornien: Die erste 100% elektrische Busflotte rollt demnächst, aufgerufen 8. März 2016
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