In 2010, emissions from Shenzhen’s transportation sector accounted for 23 million tonnes of CO2, or 42% of the city’s overall emissions. Although the number of buses and taxis only account for 1.1% of the whole car ownership in Shenzhen, they are responsible for one-fifth of the city’s total emissions.
In 2009, to tackle rising oil prices and growing environmental pressures, the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission (SDRC) and the Transportation Commission of Shenzhen jointly launched the New Energy Vehicles Promotion. This project aims to replace traditional vehicles with new energy vehicles (NEVs) across the entire city to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality. However, the new energy vehicle project faces a lack of charging infrastructure, high purchase cost, and a lack of acceptance by consumers. These challenges require a robust action plan targeting the transportation sector and involving all stakeholders, including citizens.
Shenzhen adopted an innovative business model, successfully mobilising vehicle manufacturers, grid companies, bus and taxi operators, policy research institutes, and citizens to promote the new energy vehicles plan. The City’s strategy is to prioritise electrified public transportation (buses and taxis), and gradually transition towards private cars.
As of December 2013, 3,050 units of new energy buses (accounting for 20% of the public buses in Shenzhen), and 850 pure electric taxis (accounting for 6% of the taxis in Shenzhen), were operating in the city.
This project sets two main goals: a short-term goal of adding 35,000 NEVs in the next two years, and a long-term goal of reaching a zero emission ecosystem. Shenzhen plans to reduce 0.82 million tonnes of CO2 emissions between 2014 and 2015.
The project has already shown substantial results. The NEV fleet has enabled Shenzhen to cut CO2 emissions by 160,000 tonnes between 2009 and 2013, which has led the city to be ranked in the top 10 for best air quality in China, according to China’s Environment Agency.