Electric buses can reduce costs, improve air quality and support local industries.

In December 2019 ClimateWorks Australia was invited to make a submission to the New South Wales government inquiry into electric buses for regional and metropolitan public transport networks. The submission highlights that the technology and industry are ready for policy to support electric bus rollout and the environmental, economic and health benefits of transitioning from diesel buses.

The NSW Government Climate Change Policy framework sets an aspirational objective for NSW to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Transport currently contributes 21% of the state’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonising transport systems is critical to achieving the NSW Government’s net zero emissions objective.

Our submission shows that there is global precedent for the transition, as well as positive results from trials across the state.

Globally there were 460,000 electric buses operating in 2018, an increase of 25% on 2017 numbers. Battery electric vehicles account for 93% of new electric bus registrations. China represents 99% of the global market for electric buses.

We found too that fleet operators transitioning to electric buses are motivated not just by the emissions reduction benefits, but also cost reductions over the life of the vehicle, and the broader benefits presented to public health and the economy.

New York City is transitioning its fleet of 5,700 buses from diesel to electric, with analysis predicting each bus will save $150,000 per year in reduced health care costs19.

The submission calls on the New South Wales government to support electric bus uptake through policy direction and certainty to help mitigate barriers to broader uptake in Australia.