Addis Ababa City Administration in collaboration with C40 City Solutions Platform to launch Electric bus
5Document purpose C40 Cities and the City of Addis Ababa are releasing a call to action to climate solution providers to understand how a battery-electric bus pilot can be implemented on a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor in the City. This document is for prospective solution providers from the public, private, academic and NGO sectors to understand the context and objectives surrounding this climate crisis challenge from the City of Addis Ababa, and how they can get involved via the C40 City Solutions Platform program.
The City of Addis Ababa’s Challenge: Piloting Electric Buses in the City’s Bus Rapid Transit System
Addis Ababa is rapidly urbanizing doubling in size every decade since the 1980s. Despite the City’s relatively low motorization rate; rapid economic growth has led to increasing rates of vehicle registrations. Today, transport comprises 68% of the City’s total emissions the major share of which is from on-road transport. The vehicle fleet in Addis Ababa is characterized by old and inefficient vehicles. Public transport includes public buses and privately-owned minibuses which are predominantly powered by unregulated diesel engines. For urban residents, air pollution is one of the top causes of death with diesel exhaust constituting a large share of air toxins. In 2017, the transport sector was responsible for 60% of PM2.5 non background concentration.
The demand for affordable and modern mass transit services has increased faster than the City can provide it. In turn, mounting gridlock is creating safety and health risks, producing more greenhouse gas emissions and impeding economic development. In response to these challenges, Ethiopia has turned its attention to shifting its capital towards sustainable mass transit solutions. Part of this is investing in light rail transit (LRT), bus rapid transit (BRT) systems and other mass transport services. The development of 2 BRT corridors is already underway with a total of 15 planned BRT corridors as stated in the current Addis Ababa city master plan 2017-2027(link to article). The two LRT corridors cover about 34.25 km in both directions, i.e. from North to South and East to West.
As buses have yet to be tendered or procured for the BRT systems, the introduction of zero emission buses, such as battery-electric buses, on defined BRT corridors or other alternate routes provide an excellent opportunity for Addis Ababa to avoid locking-in local and global emissions from diesel fueled buses for the next 20+years. Having zero tailpipe emissions, battery-electric buses not only reduce global greenhouse gases from transportation sector, but also have huge local air quality and health benefits. The C40 Benefits team have conducted a benefits analysis of introducing BRT lines into Addis Ababa and identified significant results in terms of reduction in premature deaths; increase in life expectancy; reduction in hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and healthcare costs saved. Despite being more investment heavy, e-buses can attain lower total cost of ownership over their lifespans due to large operational and maintenance savings and can be introduced to the city’s fleet through innovative business models with third-party providers and investors without increasing the system total cost.
The challenge is to build a consortium of relevant stakeholders to develop solutions for the introduction of battery-electric buses for Addis Ababa’s BRT in order to curb growing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and public health risks.
The challenge will center around three pivotal questions:
- How to deployand designa small-scaleelectric bus pilot, includingtheneededcharging infrastructure andany necessary accessories,to raise awareness and gain confidence in the technologyand test its performance on the BRT corridors, or other alternate routes, under construction?
- How toevaluate which BRT corridors (out of the 15 planned) are most suited for the sustainable operation of an electric busand what technical and finance elementsare neededto make a widespread roll-out of e-buses in the system viable over the long-term?
- How to engagethe communityand relevant stakeholdersin the electric bus project, and sustain their involvement?
An array of different private and public stakeholders mustcoordinate efforts to develop a pilot and test a battery-electric bus. These include but is not limited to:
- Bus manufacturers, battery assemblers and charging infrastructure suppliers;
- Energy suppliers;
- Investors and financiers (development agencies, multi laterals, national development financiers, commercial banks);
- Technology providers;
- Addis Ababa City Administration transport and environmental agencies;
- Ethiopia National transport, environmental ministries and other federal government organizations;
- Academic institutions
- Bus transport service operators, among others.
The participation and cooperation among different stakeholders and partners are necessary for an effective electric bus pilot. Other cities sharing similar challenges within the African region, such as Dar es Salaam, Kigali, Nairobi, and South African cities, will be involved to broaden the scope of stakeholders, facilitate knowledge sharing and scale-up electric bus deployment in the region.
This project is in line with the objectives of Ethiopia’s Climate Resilience Green Strategy, which aims to reduce sizable emissions from the transport sector and improve cities’ capacity to adapt and become more resilient to the climate crisis. The project will also help ensure Addis Ababa is on a path way to reach the Paris Climate Agreement.
Through the C40 City Solutions Platform, Addis Ababa will collaborate with “solution providers”, from the private, public, academic and NGO sectors, to develop scalable and tangible ideas and solutions. The CSP Challenge is phase 2 of a larger in-depth work plan provided by C40 Cities to support Addis Ababa in procuring and deploying electric buses.
The in-depth assistance will include the following C40 led programme of support for the city:
- Phase 1: An extensive benefits analysis on e-buses in Addis Ababa to ensure political buy in.
- Phase 2: CSP Challenge to convene a favorable ecosystem of stakeholders & generate initial ideas.
- Phase 3: Prepare a structured e-bus pilot through technical assistance
- Phase 4: Share and learn with other African experiences