A non-profit electric bus service has announced it will introduce at least 3,000 electric buses in the country in 2020.
Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup announced the creation of VinBus, which aims to replace existing public transit with electric buses. This would help reduce the noise and, of course, greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation. The company, which has a capital of $42.88 million USD, will only operate electric buses.
The fact that this is happening in Vietnam, a country of almost 100 million inhabitants but with a GDP per capita of only $7,482 (compared to $59,531 for the US), is a remarkable step. Sure, 3,000 buses might not seem like all that much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s an excellent start. It still dwarfs the largest US electric bus fleet. The fact that VinBus is a non-profit also means that all the extra profits will be reinvested back into the fleet, giving it the potential to grow very fast.
The buses will also be more modern and comfortable than existing buses, and so far, public reception has been encouraging.
For now, electric buses can make a much more substantial dent in global emissions than electric cars. They are also excellently suited for the technology, with small trips between fixed places being perfect for electric vehicles. A recent Bloomberg report found that “for every 1,000 electric buses on the road, 500 barrels of diesel are [saved up] each day.”
So far, China is by far the world’s largest market for electric buses, with a fleet of over 300,000 vehicles and growing fast, but the rest of the world is also trying to catch up. A number of American cities and universities have unveiled their electric bus fleets in recent years, but without healthy centralized policy, growth is bound to be slow.
We can only hope that Vietnam’s initiative is successful, catches on, and grows — inspiring other countries to take a similar route.