This piece was originally published on c40.org

On February 20th a fleet of 50 new articulated electric buses were formally incorporated into Line 3 of Mexico City’s public transport system.

The city’s transport authority, Metrobús, is a decentralised public entity managing the bus rapid transit (BRT) service through a network spanning 283 stations, seven bus lines and 140 kilometres, which service 1.8 million daily riders. Mexico City now has the largest fleet of articulated e-buses in Latin America and one of the largest worldwide.

mexico city electric buses
Source: ZEBRA

Full fleet electrification by 2035

Metrobús’s target is to electrify its entire bus fleet by 2035. To fulfill this commitment, Metrobús sought technical assistance from the Zero-Emission Bus Rapid Deployment Accelerator (ZEBRA), a partnership led by C40 Cities and the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT), with support from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). ZEBRA assists public authorities in Latin America to deploy low-carbon e-mobility projects and enable replication and scaling-up of best practice across the region.

Opened in 2011, Metrobús’s Line 3 (L3) is 20.4km long and has 38 stations. As L3 reached its tenth year of operation, ZEBRA supported Metrobús with the phase-out of its diesel-fuelled fleet with articulated e-buses. The technical assistance provided facilitated electrification of Metrobús’s L3 line, along with documented learnings from a 2021 pilot, in which ten Yutong articulated electric buses were deployed. The e-bus fleet’s impressive performance persuaded both Metrobús and MIVSA (the BRT’s operator) to acquire more electric buses.

Technical assistance was made possible thanks to the political commitment secured by C40, through Mexico City’s inclusion as a signatory city in C40’s Green and Healthy Streets Accelerator, along with almost four years of technical assistance from ZEBRA’s partners. This technical assistance included:

  • Defining e-bus technical specifications;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the city’s first e-bus pilot fleet;
  • E-bus route modelling and total cost of ownership (TCO) analyses;
  • Support in waiving import fees for e-buses;
  • Assessment of Metrobús’s financial model;
  • Assessment and recommendation of the best credit options offered by financial institutions;
  • Technical support to structure the city’s Request for Proposal documents and legal documentation;
  • Recommendations surrounding the construction of charging infrastructure;
  • Dissemination of Mexico City’s experience with other cities in the region.

Most technical assessments were conducted by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), and are publicly available. C40 and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) delivered complementary technical, legal and financial assistance relating to the RFP process.

Mexico City Metrobús: e-buses are an alternative

In March 2022 a strategy for the deployment of an electric fleet in Mexico City’s “Metrobús” L3 and L4 lines was launched. The report confirmed what other ZEBRA cities in Latin America and cities around the world have demonstrated: electric buses are a viable alternative for the renovation of diesel fleets, not only from an economic point of view, but also because they reduce local and climate pollutants.

In July 2022 ZEBRA also worked with Metrobús to hold an event for local operators, called “The road to electromobility of the Metrobús,” where operators, investors, and manufacturers came together to learn more about electromobility in public transport. (This fact sheet outlines ZEBRA’s work on Mexico City’s first ten e-buses.)

Source: ZEBRA

At the end of 2022, the ICCT also launched two new reports: the first one on the energy consumption of articulated electric buses for different load levels in the Mexico City’s bus rapid transit system. In December, an analysis of electric bus performance in Mexico City was launched, which reported that the city’s e-buses met operating requirements, driving between 250 km and 325 km during two-thirds of the 10-month monitoring period. During 99% of this timeframe, the energy consumption per kilometer traveled remained in the 0.86-1.0 kWh/km range. Similarly, the energy regenerated by the braking system remained in the 21-24% range, equivalent to approximately 130 kWh per day.

Between March and October 2022, GGGI assessed and enhanced documents and technical annexes relating to a request for proposals (RFP) for the provision of the charging infrastructure. It also supported Metrobús with the tendering process and developed a set of evaluation criteria to inform the selection of the most cost-efficient and technically accomplished proposals. In parallel, GGGI also assessed the project’s financial model, providing recommendations to make it more robust, as well as providing Metrobús with transaction advisory services to select the best credit terms among a diverse range of financial providers (development and commercial banks).

Highlights

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