Using electric buses in climate fight faces hurdles, report finds

Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Electric buses could play a key role in combating climate change, but U.S. cities testing them have met hurdles that need fixing before the technology is widely employed to slow global warming, a report showed on Thursday.

Buses tested in a handful of U.S. locales had trouble with battery life, inadequate range and sensitivity to extreme heat, according to the U.S.-based report.

The research was compiled by U.S. PIRG Education Fund, a public interest group, the nonprofit Environment America Research and Policy Center and Frontier Group, a clean energy organization.

Battery-powered electric buses eliminate diesel exhaust emissions and pollution and emit far fewer greenhouses gasses that contribute to global warming than do diesel and natural gas-powered buses, proponents say.

Transportation is the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for almost one-third of emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But the emerging electric bus technology is not without its pitfalls, said the report which looked at six U.S. test locations.