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Welfens, P.J.J./Yu, N./Hanrahan, D./Schmülling, B./Fechtner, H.: Electrical Bus Mobility in the EU and China: Technological, Ecological and Economic Policy Perspectives

Welfens, P.J.J./Yu, N./Hanrahan, D./Schmülling, B./Fechtner, H.: Electrical Bus Mobility in the EU and China: Technological, Ecological and Economic Policy Perspectives

JEL classification: N74, N75, Q55, Q56, R4

Key words: Sustainability, municipal transportation, e-bus, technology, EU, China




The analysis provides a hybrid techno-economic perspective on EU and China e-bus development dynamics. China is a leading global electric bus user – particularly in certain provinces. In Europe, the European Commission has started an electric bus initiative and several EU member countries have tried to achieve progress with regard to their own municipal e-bus fleets. While the economic analysis shows that e-bus innovation and diffusion dynamics can be influenced by government procurement policy, it is also obvious that certain pricing schemes in e-bus (mixed) municipal mobility networks are not successfully promoting clean e-bus expansion. A key issue is that various grant schemes depress the prices for used e-buses which in turn creates additional risk for e-bus leasing arrangements. Industrial policy aspects as well innovation policy face challenges in the e-bus context. China’s regional e-bus approaches have shown considerable success and part of China’s patent dynamics supports e-bus expansion perspectives. From a technological perspective, there are several alternative modes of e-bus mobility whose technological and economic advantages have to be explored in the context of the characteristics of local and regional bus routes. A very important technological element of e-mobility concerns technical aspects of battery charging – for example, cycle lifetime, power density, charging time and safety. The price dynamics of battery packs is rather high and should stimulate the expansion of e-bus mobility in Europe and China. One key problem faced by Europe and Asia is the challenge of common technical standards. As regards Germany’s and the UK’s position as a potential lead markets for e-bus mobility – or a similar positioning of a network of EU cities – much depends on adequate new policy initiatives. The emissions reductions which could be achieved by transitioning to 100% e-bus mobility in the EU would amount to an estimated 1.3% cut in terms of emissions of the transport sector (without aviation).


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