The New York City Council voted 44-1 to require all city-owned school buses to be battery-powered by September 1, 2035. Currently, the city operates 885 school buses that operate on diesel. The council’s action was spurred by a new law signed by Governor Hochul last month that bans the sale of light gasoline and diesel vehicles in New York state after 2035.
There is a caveat in the new electric school bus policy. It is “subject to the commercial availability and reliability of all electric school buses, as well as the technical and physical availability of related planned infrastructure”. Given the state’s interest in having a zero-emission transportation sector, it is likely that the required infrastructure will be built over the next 14 years, says We Go Electric.
The city estimates that converting its school bus fleet to electric buses as well as purchasing the necessary electric charging stations and electrical infrastructure will cost a total of $ 367.3 million by 2035. In addition to the bus mandate, the city has also already decided that non-emergency fleet vehicles must be electric by 2040. The new law also requires that all parking lots in the city’s 5 boroughs include chargers. electric vehicles for a minimum of 20% of available parking spaces.
Up in smoke
We are dedicated advocates of the electric vehicle revolution here at CleanTechnica, but that doesn’t mean we have to bury our heads in the sand. This week, worrying news from Germany concerns a number of fires involving electric buses in Düsseldorf, Hanover and Stuttgart. The Stuttgart fire occurred recently and all electric buses in that city were taken out of service until the cause of the fire was known. The first bus to catch fire was being loaded.
The resulting fire destroyed 25 buses – 23 conventional units and 2 electric batteries – according to Algulf. Six people were injured in the Stuttgart fire, two of them were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation. Losses from the fire run into millions of dollars.
On June 5, a fire at a bus depot in Hanover destroyed five electric buses, two hybrid buses, a diesel bus and a coach. The city’s electric buses were later taken out of service, but are expected to return to service on November 1.
Last April, a fire at a bus depot in Düsseldorf destroyed 38 buses and the depot building, causing millions more damage. Experts from the Düsseldorf public prosecutor’s office concluded in June that the fire had an undetermined technical cause. The depot had only recently installed charging equipment for electric buses.
Did you know about these fires? No? We neither. 12 Chevy Bolts battery fires made headlines around the world and will cost LG Chem nearly $ 2 billion. More than 70 buses have caught fire in Germany this year, but there has been virtually no report of it. And why only in Germany and not in other countries? There are so many more electric buses in China than the German total would seem insignificant.
Clearly, battery makers need to tackle the problem of battery fires as quickly as possible to avoid a major obstacle to the electric vehicle revolution. LFP batteries may not have the energy density of conventional lithium-ion batteries, but they have a much lower fire risk (BYD blade battery reduced this risk to almost zero.)
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