A private Beijing transport company has pledged to install 40 new charging stations next year in preparation for more electric buses.
The move will take the number of charging stations cross the capital to 100, said Lian Xingye, deputy general manager of Beijing Junma Passenger Transport Co.
Junma is one of several bus companies providing public transport services in Beijing, with most of its routes in Shunyi district.
The company bought its first clean-energy vehicle, powered by liquefied natural gas, in 2012. Today, 90 percent of its 557 buses either run on LNG or electricity, according to its general manager, Men Bolai.
Increasing the use of e-buses and encouraging more people to use public transport instead of driving are seen as vital to reduce air pollution in Beijing.
The city government has offered transport companies subsidies to switch to green vehicles, and more than 65 percent of buses are expected to run on clean energy by the end of this year, said Wang Hao with the Beijing Transport Commission.
Beijing has about 27,000 buses serving 1,200 routes. About 10 million journeys a day are made using these vehicles.
Besides the environmental benefits, e-buses also have economic advantages.
“Electric buses cost 1 yuan (15 US cents) a kilometer to run, while gas or diesel vehicles cost 2 yuan,” Lian said. “Engines powered by fossil fuels also need regular maintenance, which costs money, while electric engines don’t, making them more cost effective.”
However, challenges remain, such as the shortage of charging stations and low battery capacity.
Beijing Transport Commission now requires all bus parking lots to have charging stations, Wang said.
China is promoting e-buses nationwide. Some 200,000 new e-buses were expected to be put into operation this year, according to Wu Chungeng, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport.