New York City Council has voted 44 to 1 to require all city-owned school buses to be battery-powered by September 1, 2035. At present, the city operates 885 diesel-powered school buses. The council’s action was spurred on by a new law signed by Governor Hochul last month banning the sale of petrol and diesel light vehicles in New York State after the year 2035.
There is a caveat in the new policy for electric school buses. It is “subject to the commercial availability and reliability of all electric school buses and the technical and physical availability of associated planned infrastructure.” Given the state’s interest in having a non-emissions transportation sector, it is likely that the necessary infrastructure will be built sometime over the next 14 years, We Go Electric says.
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 already decided that non-emergency fleet vehicles must be electric by 2040. The new law also requires that all parking facilities within the city’s 5 districts include electric car chargers for at least 20% of the available parking spaces.
Up in smoke
We are dedicated advocates of the EV revolution here at CleanTechnica, but that does not mean we have to bury our heads in the sand. There is disturbing news from Germany this week relating to a series of fires with electric buses in Düsseldorf, Hanover and Stuttgart. The fire in Stuttgart happened recently and all electric buses in the city have been taken out of operation until the cause of the fire is known. The first bus that burned was charged at the time.
The resulting fire destroyed 25 buses – 23 conventional units and 2 battery electric – according to Algulf. Six people were injured in the fire in Stuttgart, two of whom were taken to hospital with smoke inhalation. The losses from the fire are in the 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 bus. E-buses in that city were subsequently withdrawn from operation, but are expected to be taken into use again on 1 November.
In April last year, a fire at a bus depot in Düsseldorf destroyed 38 buses and the depot building, causing millions of injuries. Experts from the prosecution in Düsseldorf concluded in June that the fire had an indefinite technical cause. The depot had only recently installed charging equipment for the electric buses.
Did you know about these fires? None? Nor did we. 12 battery fires in the Chevy Bolts were news on the front page worldwide and will cost LG Chem nearly $ 2 billion. Over 70 buses have caught fire in Germany this year, yet there have been hardly any news reports about it. And why only in Germany and not other countries? There are so many more electric buses in China that Germany’s total would look insignificant.
It is clear that battery manufacturers need to address the problem of battery fire as soon as possible to avoid a major roadblock for the EV revolution. LFP batteries may not have the energy density of conventional lithium-ion batteries, but they come with a much lower risk of fire (the BYD blade battery has reduced this risk to almost zero.)
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