How to introduce electric buses in your city?


Ambitious steps are needed to limit global warming and to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The electrification of urban buses is considered an important element in the decarbonization of urban transport. It also helps to reduce local air pollution and increase the quality of life in urban areas. Considering the early experiences already gained worldwide with e-buses, cities can move ahead and switch their transport systems to zero emission bus technology. Internationally, numerous cities like Shenzhen, Kolkata, Berlin and Santiago are investing in low-emission bus technologies, such as battery electric and fuel-cell electric buses.


The introduction of electric buses presents decision-makers and (public) bus operators in cities with a multitude of new challenges. The planning of the bus fleet renewal goes way beyond the traditional procurement of conventional vehicles. In many cases, the electrification of bus fleets will require the introduction of a new ecosystem build around innovative charging solutions as well as different ways of operation and maintenance. With our “How to” checklist TUMI provides a structured list of questions with an aim to help key stakeholders in understanding the step by step e-bus project implementation planning. With our easy-to-use guideline for action we prepare cities in transforming their public transport for the electric future.

Key Steps for the Introduction of E-Buses

  • Define strategic goals
    Reduction of pollutants, CO2 reduction, noise reduction, new connection with E-buses, foraying into new business streams etc.?
  • Analyze own public transport organization
    Number & structure of transport operators, available transport modes, fleet sizes etc.
  • Define start date for electrification
    When do you plan to put the first electric buses into operation?
  • Set a timetable
    Until when should the electrification be completed
  • Select project scale
    Do you plan a pilot project (for testing) or a full conversion of the bus fleet?
  • Define number of buses to procure
    How many electric buses are to be procured in total?


  • Public transport operators
  • Municipal Government
  • Public transport authorities

Further Reading:

1) How to enable electric bus adoption in cities worldwide, WRI 2019

2) Five key steps for electric bus success, T&E 2020

3) Decision Support Tree for planning a e-bus system, ZeEUS

4) The Green bus technology plan - 2017, The City of Toronto

4) Shenzhen- Switching to an Electric Mobility System in the city, 2019

5) Guidebook for deploying Zero Emission Transit Buses, The National Academies of Sciences 2021

Which legal requirements must be considered?

  • Analyse policy landscape
    Review existing national and local policies, which are supportive of bus electrification
  • Procurement quotas for e-buses
    Check whether there are procurement quotas for electric buses in place for your legislative region (e.g. EU Clean Vehicle Directive)
  • Regulations
    • Identify the national & local obligations related to battery and other hazardous waste management rules
    • Identify the obligations related to renewable energy use
    • Identify the passenger & manpower safety obligations
  • Financial assitance programs
    Check whether there are any financial assistance programs (internat./national/local level) available


  • Public transport operator
  • Municipal Government
  • Public transport authorities

Further Reading:

1) The Impact of electric buses on urban life, Policy Brief, UITP 2019

2) EU Clean Vehicles Directive

3) Innovative Clean Transit Rule - 2018, California Air Resources Board

4) Analysis of Existing Legislation and Funding Applicable to Urban Electric Buses, ZeEUS

5) Low or No Emission Vehicle Program, Federal Transit Administration, United States Department of Transportation

6) Battery Waste Management Rules, 2020, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change India.

Which vehicle technology is best suited to local conditions?

  • Define vehicle requirements
    Take parameters like route statistics, topography, local climate & spatial conditions, passenger utilisation into account
  • Select propulsion technology
    Are battery/ Hybrid/ fuel cell buses the most promising technology for the local context?
  • Check alternatives
    Could trolleybuses or battery buses with fuel cells as range extenders also be an option? Is there a possibility of retrofitting the existing vehicle stock?
  • Select technology for heating and AC
    Electric or fossil fuel auxiliary heating? (Influences maximum ranges)
  • Check technology availability
    Do OEMs offer their bus models as battery or fuel cell version (solo- and articulated bus)
  • Define charging strategy
    Should battery buses be charged overnight at depot or via opportunity charging (on-route)?
  • Match route
    Plan e-bus routes according to technological capacities (consider bus range, topography etc.)
  • Formulate requirements (specification sheet)
    Define specifications for vehicle procurement like passenger capacity, energy consumption, floor height, vehicle utilisation in single charge, desired breaking & suspension system.
    Please take local conditions into account here.
    Include charging station in the requirements for the tender.
  • Start tender of buses
    Procure buses through international tender to get best value for money


  • Public transport operators. (If necessary, supported by engineering office/consultant)

Further Reading:

1) Zero-Emission Technology Inventory tool, provides comprehensive information on available Zero Emission Bus models for purchase across the world.

2) “Zero Emission Bus Nachselection” TUMIVolt Webinar with Agora Verkehrswende and ifeu, 2020

3) Going Electric: a pathway to zero Emission buses - July 2021, MobiliseyourCity Partnership

4) Bus Fleet Renewal Toolkit, GIZ

5) Matching electric buses with optimal routes - 2020, ICCT

6) Roadmap for Electric Bus Systems - 2018, ZeEUS Project

7) E-Bus Planning with Simulation tools, ELIPTIC Project (EU)

8) ISEA RWTH Aachen Electric Bus Simulation - 2017, ELIPTIC Project (EU)

9) Financial Analysis of Battery Electric Transit Buses - 2020, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

10) Strategies for deploying zero-emission bus fleets: Development of real-world drive cycles to simulate zero-emission technologies along existing bus routes - 2020, ICCT & UITP

Which charging infrastructure or hydrogen filling station is required?

  • Determine the charging technology
    Plug-based (at depot) or conductive opportunity charging en-route (at bus stops)?
  • Define necessary charging speed
    Define whether the buses should operate with slow charging or fast charging (>100 kW).
  • Calculate additional space requirements
    How much additional space is necessary for charging infrastructure at depot (or en-route)?
  • Examine the implementation of smart charging solutions
    Examine the implementation of a smart charging and energy management system
  • Avoid interface risks
    To what extent can the charging of the bus fleet be controlled intelligently and adapted to the operating procedures?
    Which providers offer an IT-supported charging management system?
    Is the planned charging technology interoperable with the new buses?
    Will it remain so in the future?
  • Check necessity to build own H2 filling station (if applicable)
    If hydrogen is used, should it be purchased externally or filled up at the depot?
  • If en-route charging, define locations of charging stations in the city
    Take infrastructure measures on the bus routes into account (depending on the chosen charging strategy, see above).
  • Start tender of charging infrastructure
    Procure charging infrastructure through international tender to get best value for money (combine with bus tender).


  • Public transport operators
  • Municipal Goverment
  • Public transport authorities
  • City planning authorities

Further Reading:

1) “Public Charging Infrastructure Tendering” TUMIVolt Webinar with EV Consult, 2021

2) Charging infrastructure Webinar - Planning for full fleet Electrification, Proterra

2) Bus Fleet Renewal Toolkit, GIZ

3) CHARGING INDIA’S BUS TRANSPORT - A Guide for Planning Charging Infrastructure for Intra-city Public Bus Fleet- 2019, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE)

4) Electrification of a City Bus Network: An Optimization Model for Cost-Eff ective Placing of Charging Infrastructure and Battery Sizing of Fast Charging Electric Bus Systems - 2016, Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung

What are the key elements of the bus tender?

  • Define key roles
    Define the roles of involved agencies (public transport authorities, public transport operators, e-bus/charging station providers, etc.)
  • Define the Business Model
    Define the business model of the E-bus operation at following levels:
    • Who does what?
    • Bus operation Service Model – outsourcing or ownership
    • Financing- Capital financing or operational or both
    • Contract Bundling- Vehicle & Chargers or Electricity & Chargers or Bus Depot & Bus operations management or any other
    • Assets (E-Buses, Batteries and Charging Infrastructure) End of Life management
  • Organize a Market Consultation Process
    Consult the relevant stakeholders in the market with an aim to:
    • Investigate products & solutions available in market
    • Involve interested parties early on in the organisation of the tendering procedure
    • Receive suggestions on the tender document
  • Select Assests and Services to be procured
    Which of the following operation optimization services should be procured?
    • E-Bus planning & Scheduling
    • E-Bus Operation Monitoring
    • Smart Charging
    • Battery Monitoring
  • Consider additional items to keep in mind
    Things to keep in mind during tendering process:
    • Warranty claim procedures
    • Key Performance indicators (KPIs)
    • Payment Mechanism
    • Project Timelines
    • Identify potential facilitation needs (e.g. from e-bus operater, charging station operator, digital service provider)
    • Performance optimization mechanisms
  • Consider learning from other cities


  • Public transport operators
  • Municipal Goverment
  • Public transport authorities

Further Reading:

1) Tender Structure for Urban Electric Bus Procurement - 2018, ZeEUS Project

2) Compilation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIS) - 2018, ASSURED Project

3) Market Consultation Process for E-Buses - 2020, GVB Amsterdam

4) Accelerating a market transition in Latin America New Business models for Electric bus deployment - 2020, Zebra Project

5) Pay as you Save (PAYS) for Clean Transport - 2018, The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance

6) E-Bus Acquisition Business Models in LATAM region - 2021, MOVE Movilidad Eléctrica en Latinoamérica

What is the estimated investment volume, which funding programmes are available?

  • Preparation of investment/financial planning
    Prepare investment plan based on vehicle procurement and infrastructure costs.
  • Make additional up-front costs transparent (if applicable)
    The bearing of possible additional costs must be politically borne and approved.
  • Identify available funding programmes
    Identify available funding programs on municipal, regional, national level (e.g. grants)
  • Check financing models
    Check which financing models can be used (self-funding, bank loans, leasing, grants).


  • Transport operators (in coordination with the municipal transport and finance department)

Further Reading:

1) Financial Mechanisms for E-Bus Adoption - 2019, GIZ

2) Financing electric and hybrid-electric buses: 10 questions city decision-makers should ask - 2019, WRI

3) Electric Buses in Cities - Driving towards cleaner air and lower co2 - 2018, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

4) Six tips for your electric bus project’s financial viability in the green recovery, C40 Cities

5) Webinar - Funding Battery Electric Buses & Charging Infrastructure in California, Proterra

6) Insights into funding, procurement and scaling-up-zero emission bus fleets - 2019, Webinar Calstart & ViriCiti

7) Analysis of “Shenzhen Model” for New Energy Vehicle Promotion in Public Transportation - 2019, IOP Conference Series Earth and Environmental Science

    8) Lessons from electric bus deployments in Santiago de Chile - 2020, ZEBRA Project

    9) Pay As You Save (PAYs) for Clean Transport, The Lab

    How to provide sufficient amounts of renewable electric energy and/or green hydrogen?

    • Plan for increased power requirements
      How much will the electricity demand increase due to the fleet of battery buses?
    • Strengthen grid performance
      Is the construction of transformers/sub-stations necessary to increase the connected power?
    • Ensure electricity supply from renewable sources
      Which supply source (e.g. public utility company) ensures the supply of green electricity?
    • Ensure hydrogen supply from renewable sources (if applicable)
      What are the supply options for hydrogen from renewable sources? (Power-to-H2 plants in the region?)


    • Public transport operators in cooperation with (municipal) electricity supplier (if necessary, supported by engineering office/ consultant)

    Further Reading:

    1) Specification of Grid Constraints - 2018, ASSURED Project

    2) Grid integration of electric vehicles: Status and experiences - 2021, Webinar by Energynautics

    3) Preparing to Plug in Your Fleets, 10 Things to consider - 2019, Edison Electric Institute

    4) Transit Agency and Utility Partnerships: Best Practices and Strategies for Succesful Electric Bus Deployments - 2020, American Public Transport Association (APTA)

    5) Buses Go Truly Zero Emission With Solar Power

    6) Stadtwerke Münster uses sun charged electric ZeEUS buses - 2019

    7) Electric car batteries need far less raw materials than fossil-fuel cars - study - 2021, Transport & Environment (T&E)

    How to prepare all operating staff and First line workers to work with electric buses?

    • Define Training/ education needs
      Training required to ensure safe & economic E-bus operation. Who needs to be trained? (drivers, workshop/service employees, Fire department employees etc.)
    • Potential Training Topics:
      • Important Regulations (Qualifications / Standards / Safety)
      • High Voltage system
      • Vehicle / Charger Infrastructure Maintenance
        • Vehicle walk around & General Features
        • Non-Electronic / Electrical Work
        • Electronic / Electrical Work
        • Mechanical / General / Diagonistic Maintenance
      • Vehicle / Charging Infrastructure training for drivers
      • Vehicle/Charging Infrastructure Safety Protocols
    • Organize Trainings/ Workshops
      Possible Trainings: Safety training for work with high voltage components, efficient driving, e-bus tendering, depot and charging management.

      Which trainings could be provided by Bus & Charging station manufacturers, service providers, private academies, NGOs, etc.?


    • Public transport operators
    • Front Line Workers

    Further Reading:

    1) TUMI Events & Training Calendar

    2) UITP Trainings on Electric Buses

    3) Emergency Response Guidebooks Electric Vehicles, National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), USA

    4) Video - Lithium-Ion Battery Fires in Electric Vehicles - Safety Risks to Emergency Responders - 2021, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), US (Access the Report here)

    5) Workforce Training Course - West Coast Center of Excellence in Zero-Emission Technology (CoEZET), USA

    6) Identifying the Training Needs: Training for work on vehicles with high voltage systems - 2012, Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV)

    7) Training Course:

      8) Training Courses by OEMS: Proterra; Yutong;

      Develop a Team

      • Check the current team and competencies
      • Identify the services & training arrangement agreed for O&M with OEMS and service providers
      • Define necessary changes & governance structure within the team

      Identify the required upgradations in O&M department at-within:

      • Current decision-making process
      • Various operations, monitoring and maintenance functions
      • The current IT-solutions/serivices being used for operations monitoring
      • The existing & newly defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
      • Summarise the findings

      Identify the team's tasks for O&M:

      • Check the defined Business model for e-bus model
      • Check for the identified payment mechanisms for e-bus project
      • Check for the performance optimization mechanisms for e-bus project
      • Shortlist the inhouse tasks
      • Initiate co-ordination with OEMS and service providers for services/training arrangements


      • Public Transport Authorities
      • Public Transport Companies/Operators
      • OEMS
      • Service providers

      Further Reading:

      1) How to schedule, operate and introduce electric buses into conventional bus fleet - 2020, Webinar by VIRICITI & OPTIBUS

      2) E-Buses Operation & Monitoring, Smart Planning, Scheduling and Charging - 2020, Webinar by GIZ India

      3) Maximise the Life and residential life of Electric Bus Batteries - 2019, Webinar by Fraunhofer & VIRICITI

      4) Operators' guide to fuel cell bus deployement - 2019, JIVE 2 Project

      5) Performance Evaluation Framework for Electric Buses in India - 2020, UITP & SHAKTI Foundation

      6) Toward's more efficient E-bus operation - 2020, presentation by Nina Zeun, Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH), Germany, for Riga Mobility Summit 2020)

      How to manage the assets at the end of their service life?

      • Obligations
        List down the identified obligations related to assets (e-buses, batteries, charging infrastructure, etc)

      • Identify the potential business opportunities considering
        • initial cost & financing of the assets
        • technology risk (at operation & ownership level)
        • accounting & tax benefits
      • Identify the internal capacities
        Identify the internal capacities to fulfil the obligations and/or leverage the potetial business opportunities

      • Business model
        Define the business model for the end of life management at following levels:
        • How to fulfil the battery waste management and other idetified obligations?
        • Who will manage the assets during the operation and at the end of service life?


      • Public transport operators
      • Public Transport Authorities
      • Vehicle & Charging Infrastructure OEMS
      • Energy Supplier

      Further Reading:

      1) On-site battery storage in Newport - Newport Transport, Yutong BUS UK & Zenobe Energy, July 2020

      2) Case Study: New lease of life for vehicle batteries, 2019, Man Trucks & Buses

      3) Repurposing electric vehicles battery, 2020, SolutionsPlus Toolkit

      Get Started! Don’t wait to start electrifying your public bus fleet!


      • Public transport operators
      • Municipal Government
      • Public Transport Authorities

      Further Reading:

      1) Action Checklist for Municipalities and Public Transport Providers:
      , BSR Electric

      2) Accelerating a market transition in Latin America: New business models for electric bus deployment - 2020, C40

      3) Basics of E-Buses: The Relevance and Possibilities- 2020, GIZ India

      4) E-Bus Adoption and Integration: Lessons from South Asia & Latin America - 2020, GIZ India

      5) How to shift your bus fleet to zero emission by procuring only electric buses, C40

      6) Best Practice and Commercialisation Report (Fuel Cell Buses & Hydrogen Refuelling Stations) - 2020, JIVE & JIVE 2 Project

      7) Webinar - Planning the transition to a Fully Electric Fleet, Proterra

      8) Webinar - Rural Transit Zero emission Vehicle collaborating with Electric Utilities, National Rural Transit Assistance Program, USA

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