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How E-Bus Costs Have Been Assessed Using the FMC in Bogotá?

The case study provides an overview of the results from the Future Mobility Calculator (FMC) in Bogotá and how these outcomes helped decision-makers.
Blue electric bus fleet parked in Colombia.

This case study provides an overview of the results from the Future Mobility Calculator (FMC) in Bogotá and how these outcomes helped decision-makers plan to integrate E-Bus projects into the TransMilenio fleet. The FMC assesses the costs and benefits of shared, electric urban transport options, and it was developed to help support decision-makers. Results indicated that the benefits of implementing E-Bus projects outweighed the given costs in all scenarios.

Key Findings

Electrifying municipal bus fleets offers cities new opportunities to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. Although E-Buses are an attractive solution to cities, various challenges arise when implementing them, especially in the Global South and in cities such as Bogotá, Colombia.

To plan for E-Bus implementation on a large scale, transit officials in Bogotá partnered with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to use the FMC to provide a cost-benefit analysis of electrifying bus fleets. The data implemented into the FMC focuses on general city data, mobility data, electric infrastructure data, cost data, and the given electrification scenario. Using the implemented data, the FMC provided an evaluation of various electrification scenarios ranging from large-scale electric bus fleets (1,661 E-Buses) to a smaller-scale fleet (117 E-Buses).

The result provides an estimated cost of vehicles, infrastructure and health and environmental benefits. Furthermore, the FMC was used to analyze the deployment of E-Buses through 2035 for TransMilenio (Sclar et al., n.d).

Course Mascot saying "The costs of electrification strategies are outweighted by various environmental and social benefits they offer." Course Mascot. PEM Motion (2023)

There are also over 500 default data points programmed in the FMC, which help to fill gaps in the user’s data. These default inputs focus on the city’s density and economy and include the following:

  1. emerging economy – high density
  2. high-income economy – low density
  3. high-income economy – high density
  4. emerging economy – low density

Together with the data that is included manually, the FMC then estimates the GHG emissions, air quality improvements, land-use changes, electricity consumption, and the required number and type of electric vehicle charging stations needed to carry out each electrification scenario.

The table below shows the results for all four electrification scenarios (Sclar et al., n.d).

  Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4
Number of E-Buses in the bus fleet 1,661 831 487 117
Slow chargers needed for the bus fleet 471 236 136 33
Fast chargers needed for the bus fleet 157 79 45 11
Electricity needed for the bus fleet 339,250 169,727 97,629 23,897
Depot average electric power demand 14.14 7.07 4.07 1.00
Avoided GHG (kg/year) 106,096,375 53,080,125 30,532,250 7,473,375
Avoided PM 6,790 3,397 1,945 478
Avoided NO (kg/year) 509,263 254,785 146,555 35,872

The table shows that all four electrification strategies require vast charging and electricity. However, the results demonstrate that each scenario provides various environmental benefits. The benefits increase as more E-Buses are implemented, as shown in scenario 1.

Limitations

The results show that the FMC provides a detailed framework that helps decision-makers to plan their E-Bus project implantation accordingly. However, it is essential to mention some limitations to using the FMC. For example, the FMC does not provide a comparative cost-benefit analysis against other buses, such as diesel or CNG. Instead, the tool’s primary purpose is to predict the cost, requirements, and benefits of electrification scenarios, which are needed to plan effectively for E-Bus deployment. Additionally, some factors are difficult to quantify accurately, such as the social and health impacts and emissions reductions. The FMC only provides estimates of these variables, which should be taken as benchmarks and not exact monetary values (Sclar et al., n.d).

Conclusion

The FMC outcomes in Bogotá helped TransMilenio to gain a concrete overview of several electrification strategies, their costs and benefits. The results have demonstrated that each electrification strategy provides various environmental and social benefits, outweighing the related costs. This case study also serves as a valuable resource and argument for implementing E-Bus projects, giving further insights for national governments and other decision-makers.

Moreover, this case study offers a valuable example that can enhance the global implementation of E-Bus projects. Bogotá can be utilized as a leading example of how the FMC was successfully put into practice. While significant work is still required to electrify municipal bus fleets within the city, TransMilenio has obtained crucial planning forecasts that can assist in procuring and scaling up bus fleets in the future.

References

  • Sclar, R., Werthmann, E., Orbea, J., Siqueira, E., Tavares, V., Pinheiro, B., Albuquerque, C., & Castellanos, S. (2020). *The future of urban mobility: the case for electric bus deployment in Bogotá, Colombia. * Coalition for urban transitions. Retrieved from: Link
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