Going electric? Critical barriers precluding the electrification of road public transport in Southern Switzerland

Simão, José and Cellina, Francesca and Rudel, Roman (2019) Going electric? Critical barriers precluding the electrification of road public transport in Southern Switzerland. UNSPECIFIED. In: 6th SCCER Mobility Annual Conference, 06/09/2019, ETH Zurich.

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Abstract

Following the growing trend for passenger cars, due to their lower environmental and climate impacts, a trend towards the electrification of public transport is emerging, particularly regarding urban buses. However, the reliability of the service offered by electric alternatives to diesel-powered buses and the costs of such a transition have not been fully explored. To get insights on these aspects, we simulated the transition to electric bus powertrains for two bus lines in Locarno, by comparing the currently available electric technologies and charging schemes, based on their level of operation and their overall cost. According to these simulations, “opportunity charging” schemes emerged as the most promising ones for the urban lines in Locarno; however, in the short period barriers against them still exist, including the lack of capability to guarantee the service in case of delays above three minutes, their cost (between 25% and 59% more than Euro VI diesel buses, also hampered by cashback on diesel custom duties), the need for proper training by the transport company staff, and time needed install the charging stations.

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