Denmark leads the way when it comes to putting zero-emission urban buses on the streets in Europe, with 78% of new vehicles being electric, according to the latest data from green NGO Transport & Environment. In Luxembourg and the Netherlands about two-thirds of new buses were zero-emissions. T&E said other EU countries now have a chance to catch up by including emissions-free buses in the Covid recovery plans they must submit to the European Commission by the end of April.
In Sweden, Norway and Finland, respectively 26%, 24%, and 23% of urban buses registered in 2019 were zero-emission (electric or hydrogen). Italy, Poland, Germany, the UK, Spain and France, which buy 70% of the urban buses sold in Europe, lag behind. In 2019, less than 10% of their newly-registered urban buses were electric or hydrogen.
However, Germany is now financing 80% of the higher purchase cost of e-buses. Poland announced that in cities with populations of 100,000 or more, all public transport will be fully electric by 2030, and allocated €290 million to support this objective.
T&E said the EU’s €750-billion COVID recovery fund is a clear way to finance e-bus deployment. This will be essential for the countries at the bottom of the table: Austria and Ireland registered no zero-emission urban buses in 2019, while in Switzerland and Greece less than 4% of new buses were emissions-free.
T&E also published a report identifying five key steps to get e-buses on the road, starting with political leadership and financial support. For example, the Dutch government specified in 2016 that all newly-procured buses must be zero-emission from 2025, and from 2030, all buses in use must be zero-emissions. And as part of the public procurement process, bus contracts should be awarded only to operators meeting or exceeding these targets.