California has again taken the lead on emission reduction with the state’s Air Resources Board announcing plans to ban all traditional internal combustion engine powered shuttle buses from the 13 largest airports in the state, however the ban won’t be fully in place until 2035.

The board says that all shuttle buses will be 100 per cent zero-emission vehicles by the deadline and is encouraging operators 

and providing them a long period to make the switch.

The regulations were approved last week an will apply to both public and private operations including parking, rental car companies and hotel shuttles which currently counts for about 1,000 buses and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about half a million metric tonnes between now and 2040 according to the Board.

It also believes that  it will save shuttle operators around $US 30 million over the same period, compared with current internal combustion engine buses as a result of reduced fuel and maintenance costs along with low carbon fuel standard credits for electricity.

Analysts say bus services are one of the best uses for electric vehicles, operating on a fixed route and returning to a single location with charging facilities.

The shuttle buses usually travel up to 320 km per day, well within the battery charge envelope with current technology  and they travel at relatively low speeds in a stop-and-go situation which also allows them to employ regenerative braking to recover energy.

Some companies, are already making the transition with six airport authorities in California along with private operators serving nine airports having purchased zero-emission buses. 

Currently  the California Boards says that  here are 48 zero-emissions buses operating and there are orders for another 100 on the way. That number represents around 15 per cent of all airport shuttle buses currently operating but that will accelerate quickly as  phase-in for the replacement scheme starts in 2022. 

Fleets replacing a zero-emission shuttle, will have to ensure the new vehicle is also zero emission.

The Board says  the schedule is designed to allow fleets to remain eligible for incentive funding during most of the transition period and allows companies to use their current buses for the rest of their workable life and also provides time for infrastructure planning and installation.

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