First all-electric city bus on Milan’s line 84

First of 26 buses to help clean Milan’s air.

Milan’s first 100 per cent electrically powered bus has entered service on route 84, from San Donato to Largo Augusto in the city’s south-east quadrant.

The green and white bus is the first of 10 to take up service by April.  A further 15 will be running by the end of the year, says Milan urban transport authority ATM.

With a range of 180 km and a recharging time of around five hours, the new bus will ply the 8.5 km route’s 30 stops for a full shift on one charge.

From 2020 on, ATM will buy exclusively electric-powered buses, and the fleet will become all electric once the diesel buses have been phased out by 2030.  The ecological move, beating the C40 cities’ “Together 4 Climate” target by five years, will save 30 million litres of diesel fuel per year, with all the atmospheric pollution that entails – including some 75,000 tons of CO2.

The renewal of the ATM fleet will cost some €2 billion, city councillor Marco Granelli told media this week.

Electric vehicles are controversial, because their environmental impact comes in two phases – local and global. While the energy needed to charge their batteries contributes globally to negative climate change, the impact on the local atmosphere is decidedly positive. And this is what Milan urgently needs, after a report by the World Health Organisation placed Milan just behind Turin and just before Naples as the three European cities with the worst levels of atmospheric pollution.