The Warsaw electric buses project includes: replacement of 10% of the vehicle stock of Warsaw MZA municipal bus operator with 18m articulated electric buses; and creating associated infrastructure, including the construction of aerial chargers at the ends of selected bus lines, and the adaptation of bus depots. In the long run the project will assist the Poland-wide trend towards electric mobility, limiting risks related to CO2 emissions generated by fossil fuels consumed in the transportation sector worldwide. The project will also massively reduce the amount of pollutants such as NOx and SO2, which are generated by diesel buses. It will also lead to a massive reduction in noise produced by standard vehicles.

It should be noted that emissions from transportation are the commonest reason behind air pollution breaches in Warsaw. For example, in 2011 concentration of transportation-generated PM10 amounted to 62.4 µg/m3, while its total maximum concentration was 84.7 µg/m3. In this year concentration of transport-generated NO2 amounted to 41.3 µg/m3, while its total maximum concentration was 47.5 µg/m3. There was a similar situation with CO2, whose emissions from transport increased from 1,339,282t in 2007 to 1,791,757t in 2012 – so by as much as 33.78%. On the other hand, CO2 emissions and pollutants from buildings and energy production have been decreasing. All this leads to the conclusion that transforming transportation in Warsaw towards e-mobility is the key to addressing the environmental and climate challenges that the city is facing.

The project is supported by co-financing from the Polish Operational Programme “Infrastructure and Environment”, which distributes EU assistance funds. The application was submitted in December 2016 and the resulting funding agreement was signed in October 2017. In accordance with the agreement, the total cost of the project will amount to 89.5 million USD, including external financing of 47.5 million USD. The remaining 42 million USD will be covered by the applicant – MZA bus operator, which is a municipal company 100% controlled by the City of Warsaw.

What is the innovation/policy/project/technology? How does it work? It should be underlined that this is the largest e-buses project anywhere in central and eastern Europe.

It is also the largest project in this field to make sure of EU assistance funds.

Moreover, it is also the key project directly tackling the problem of transportation-generated air pollution, which has been increasing in Warsaw the last couple of years.

As to technical innovations, the aspect worth mentioning is the use of opportunity charging (also a novelty in central and eastern Europe) in the form of 19 aerial chargers, which are located at the end of bus lines. Due to the high power of these chargers (200-400 kW) buses do not take additional time to charge: their stops at the end of the bus lines last just as long as they do with diesel buses.

What are the CO2 reduction goals/achievements?

The fuel consumption of a diesel bus amounts to around 49 dm3/100 km, with CO2 emission of 1300 g/km. This means total CO2 emissions, in life-cycle cost of such a bus (assuming 800,000 km/10 years), amount to as much as 1,040t. Therefore, with 130 e-buses in the Warsaw project, the resulting total reduction of on-road CO2 emissions will equal 135,200t, which is a very significant number.  

Next steps

Public opinion in Poland is still mostly wary of electric mobility, considering expensive electric vehicles to be something of a waste of money. However, passengers were positive about the electric buses that went into operation in Warsaw even before the current project began. They appreciated the noise reduction provided by such vehicles and the lack of pollutants generated by their propulsion systems. Therefore, after the first three batches of 10-12m e-buses, the City of Warsaw and MZA decided to implement the larger project which included up to 130 18m buses to be purchased over 2019-2020. It is also hoped that the operation of these longer buses will turn out successfully and help convince more passengers of the strengths of e-mobility. Dissemination activities about e-buses are also taking place among with Polish cities and bus operators. Further purchases of electric buses for Warsaw are planned for after 2020 as well.

Financial savings

Estimated fuel costs (LCC, 800,000 km/10 years) for one diesel bus amount to 417,233 USD, while for an e-bus it is 100,195 USD. For 130 vehicles this amounts to 54,240,290 USD/13,025,365 USD, representing an advantage of 41,214,925 USD for e-buses. Their disadvantage is their purchase price: (130×580,076 USD)-(130×290,038 USD)=37,705,004 USD. This means a total advantage of 3,509,921 USD for electric vehicles. Taking into account the total costs of the project/co-funding, the total advantage of the project when it comes to the budget rises to 36,882,198 USD.

Key impact

Within the duration of the project, the avoided emissions of non-methane volatile organic compound will amount to 20,987t/year. The avoided emissions of NOx will equal 124,133t/year, while of SO2 – 49,407t/year and of PM2.5 – 0.139 t/year. The combined avoided emissions for 10 years of bus LCC would amount to: 209,87t of NVMOC, 1,241,33t of NOx, 494,07t of SO2 and 1,39t of PM 2.5.  

In turn, environmental costs (including both health costs, material damages and environmental damages) saved due to reducing the emissions described above over the first full 10 years of the project’s duration (2020-2029) will vary from 3,761,799 USD/year to 4,831,833 USD/year. In total these 10-year savings will amount to 42,863,220 USD.

Links to further information

Contact details

City of Warsaw – Infrastructure Department
Marcin Wróblewski
Tel. +48 44 33 597

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Health
Emissions Reduction
Annual CO2 reduction 13 520 t CO2 starting from 2021
December 2016
Initial Investments
89.5 million USD over 2018-2020
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