How to introduce electric buses in your city?


Ambitious steps are needed to limit global warming and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Cities can move ahead and switch their transport systems to zero emission bus technology. 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 quality of life in urban areas. Internationally, numerous cities like Shenzhen, Delhi, 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 a bus fleet renewal goes way beyond the traditional procurement of new 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, helping key stakeholders to successfully implement electric bus projects step by step. With our easy-to-use guideline for action we prepare cities in transforming their public transport for the electric future.



TUMIVolt Checklist

1. Electrification Strategy

What are the fundamental goals of bus electrification for your city?

  • Define strategic goals
    Reduction of pollutants, CO2 reduction, noise reduction, new connection with E-buses 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

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

2. Legal requirements

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)
  • Financial assitance programs
    Check whether there are any financial assistance programs (internat./national/local level) available


  • Public transport operators

Further Reading:

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

2) EU Clean Vehicles Directive

3. Zero emission bus technology

Which vehicle technology is best suited to local conditions?

  • Define vehicle requirements
    Take parameters like route length, topography, passenger utilisation into account
  • Select propulsion technology
    Are battery or 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?
  • 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)?
  • Formulate requirements (specification sheet)
    Define specifications for vehicle procurement. 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)

Further Reading:

1) “Zero Emission Bus Selection” TUMIVolt Webinar with Agora Verkehrswende and ifeu, 2020

2) Bus Fleet Renewal Toolkit

4. Charging infrastructure

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 (>50 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

Further Reading:

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

2) Bus Fleet Renewal Toolkit

5. Financing and funding

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) Financing Electric and Hybrid Buses

2) Electric Buses in Cities - Driving towards cleaner air and lower co2

6. Energy supply (at depot)

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, engineering office

Further Reading:

1) Buses Go Truly Zero Emission With Solar Power

2) Stadtwerke Münster uses sun charged electric ZeEUS buses

7. Staff Training and Capacity Development

How to prepare all operating staff to work with electric buses?

  • Define Training/ education needs
    Who needs to be trained? (drivers, workshop/service employees)
  • Organize Trainings/ Workshops
    Possible Trainings: Safety training for work with high voltage components, efficient driving, e-bus tendering, depot and charging management


  • Public transport operators

Further Reading:

1) TUMI Events & Training Calendar

Enjoy the electric bus ride in your town!

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