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Which Legal & Political Requirements Must Be Considered and Why?

Which legal & political requirements must be considered for e-bus project planning?
A group of people inside an assembly room, talking.

Embarking on an E-Bus project requires a thorough understanding of the regulatory landscape that governs these initiatives. Various regulatory requirements must be navigated to ensure compliance, safety and successful implementation of E-Bus projects. These requirements cover a spectrum of regulations ranging from environmental standards, safety protocols, procurement procedures and public transport laws.

This article aims to:

  • create an understanding of the legal and political factors to be considered when implementing E-Bus projects
  • provide an overview of real-world examples of legal and political factors relevant to E-Buses
  • elaborate on how political and legal structures influence the deployment of E-Buses.

The transition towards a zero emission bus fleet presents a significant obstacle for urban areas, necessitating the involvement of various stakeholders. Amidst this transformative period, we must consider the implications for ourselves, our organizations and identify areas where adaptation is necessary.

Analyzing Policy Landscape

In recent years, many new policies have sought to decarbonize both municipal fleets and the wider public transport network.

  • For example, Berlin, Germany, has a fleet of around 1,800 buses and a target of 100% local emission free public transport by 2030
  • In Costa Rica 100% of new light vehicle and 100% of buses and taxis are to be zero–emission vehicles by 2050
  • The city of Montreal, Canada also expects to run 100% electric buses by 2025.

The 2019 UITP survey (the UITP collects public transport Ridership Data globally and turns it into yearly reports) estimated that in the coming 10 years, E-Buses would be the predominant choice for clean fleets. The survey also shows that around 87% of respondents reported they had electrification targets or were in the process of establishing them.

An illustrated image of a sphere representing the earth with eolic parks, big skyscrapers along with nature, wrapped in a representation of solar pannels. Environmental Impact. Simmons, L. (2016)

Procurement Quotas for E-Buses

Public procurement quotas for E-Buses are the number of E-Buses to be purchased as stated by the government in order to meet their targets.

  • Checking whether there are procurement quotes for E-Buses in place within a given legislative region, can help support E-Bus initiatives
  • Procurement quotas for E-Buses can help support E-Bus initiatives and create incentives to acquire more E-Buses

For example, the EU Clean Vehicles Directive promotes clean mobility solutions in public procurement tenders.

Image of the European Comission Logo next to the Europe Map European Commission Logo and Europe Map. EU (n.d.)

The EU clean vehicle directive promotes clean mobility solutions in public procurement tenders by defining “clean vehicles” and setting national targets for public procurement for “clean vehicles” which includes E-Buses.

Public procurements involve purchasing, leasing, renting and other relevant services contracts.

A minimum percentage of clean vehicles need to be included in the public procurement throughout Europe in order to reach national targets.

When “clean vehicles” are procured through leasing or purchase, this also count towards the national minimum target.

These initiatives help provide advances to the demand and further deployment of electrifying bus fleets.

Example of EU Clean Vehicles Directive National Targets

The next table, represents the EU targets defined in the clean vehicles directive. Here is the percentage of E-Buses to be procured in member states.

Member State From 2 August 2021 to 31 December 2025 From 1 January 2026 to 31 December 2030
Luxembourg 45% 65%
Sweden 45% 65%
Denmark 45% 65%
Finland 41% 59%
Germany 45% 65%
France 43% 61%
Netherlands 45% 65%
Austria 45% 65%
Belgium 45% 65%

Country Regulations

There are various factors which need to be investigated when looking at regulations, listed in the following image.

A diagram with three main topics, about factors that need to be investigated when implementing regulations in countries.Click to expand. Factors considered to apply country regulations. PEM Motion (2023)

Country regulations are vital to understand since they can define markets, and impose rules which impact and shape E-Bus implementation.

An example of successful country regulations is the EU Clean Battery Regulation. The EU has proposed a new battery regulation to deal with battery waste accordingly. From January 2027 strict regulations will be implemented, and new EV batteries will have to declare their recycled cobalt, lead, lithium, and nickel content.

In 2030, recycled content would have to reach 12% for cobalt, 85% for lead, 4% for lithium and 4% for nickel. It is vital to analyze regulations as they are continuously changing and can impact E-Buses operations.

A judge's gavel in a table, next to a plaque with the title "Regulations" Image representing regulations with a judge’s gavel. Youngson, N (n.d.)

The example of Europe’s changing battery regulations show us that it is important to keep these guidelines in mind, because nations are constantly changing and creating new rules for new technologies.

Financial Assistance Programs

Additional political requirements to consider is checking whether there are any financial assistance programs at an international, national, or local level.

  • Since cities are motivated to improve their environmental footprint and enhance their cities’ attractiveness, financial assistance programs for E-Buses have been increasing.
  • Since E-Buses have a high initial capital cost, financial assistance programs can provide valuable assistance and encouragement for executing E-Bus projects.
  • Financial assistance programs have become more prominent as nations are valuing the benefits that come with implementing E-Buses in a city.

A plant next to a bunch of US coins (pennys) representing the plant soil. Image representing the importance of financial programs if applicable to E-Mobility. Unsplash (2020)

An example of a succesful implementation of a financial assistance program can be seen in the UK. An ultra-low emission bus program was stablished in 2022, and this program’s objective was to support the purchase of ultra-low emission buses in the UK and to stimulate the development and deployment of ultralow emission technologies in the market. The program directly grants low-emission buses (the bus must produce at least 30% less GHG than a conventional bus).

Blue electric bus in the streets of UK. Zero-emission bus in the UK. Staff (2021)

The ultra-low emission bus programs is an example of financial assistance programs that governments have set out in order to help increase the number of E-Buses in the country.

Another example of a financing program can be seen in India. The Indian government has provided financial support for procuring E-Buses. This is done through the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles Phase II (FAME India Phase II) from 2019–2024.

The government will provide INR 100 billion (1,215 million USD) to create EV charging infrastructure for E-Buses and offer subsidies for the deployment of E-Buses. Through this program, 300 E-Buses have already been implemented in Delhi by 2022.

An electric bus decorated with flowers and typical garlands used in Delhi, India. E-Buses decorated with typical garlands in Delhi, India. Zee business (2022)

This funding program in India shows us how financial assistance have successfully made an impact and encouraged E-Bus implementation.

In the next diagram, you can find political factors to keep in mind for E-Bus deployment.

Diagram representing four different political factors to be consideres in E-Bus deployment.Click to expand. Important political factors. PEM Motion (2023)

Conclusion:

It is essential to understand and research the legal and political requirements before planning for E-Bus deployment. Political and legal structures can create initiatives and support the electrification of bus fleets, but they can also hinder implementation if the E-Buses do not meet country requirements. It is also important to constantly check for changing regulations since countries are still adapting their legal frameworks to EV technologies.

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Exploring the World of Electric Buses: Advancing Zero-Emission Public Transport

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