International evaluation of public policies for electromobility in urban fleets

Published: 2019.01.03

Peter Slowik, Carmen Araujo, Tim Dallmann, Cristiano Façanha

Link to Portuguese version

In a collaboration between Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), this study reviews international experiences in public policies for electromobility in urban fleets and explores how they could be implemented in Brazil.

Transportation electrification is viewed as a key measure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigate climate change. Many urban environments are also grappling with severe air pollution and the resulting threats to public health, and cities are increasingly evaluating and implementing robust policies to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Governments are also interested in the economic benefits from the development and manufacturing of as EVs and their supporting infrastructure. Research shows that countries that adopt stringent environmental standards and a coordinated strategy for electromobility secure early-mover advantage for firms, improving industrial competitiveness in international markets.

Research on international experiences also shows that government action – vehicle and fuel regulations, consumer incentives, charging infrastructure programs, planning, and local policies and initiatives – helps to overcome barriers related to EV model availability, higher upfront costs, functional electric range and range anxiety, and overall lack of awareness of the benefits of EVs. Brazil has not yet adopted the comprehensive EV promotion policies that are being implemented in leading electric markets. Brazil needs to clearly articulate their motivations for electromobility so that they are translated into public policies and implemented as complementary actions and programs.

One of the most important considerations when evaluating the potential for electric drive transition is the cost of these alternative technologies relative to conventional combustion engines. This study compared the total cost of ownership of electric drive and conventional combustion technologies, using the São Paulo municipal transit fleet as a case study to explore the costs of electric drive bus transitions in Brazil. In addition to lower costs, a transition to electric buses in São Paulo would result in significant reduction of GHG and black carbon emissions.

While most of the international media attention focuses on electric passenger cars, a more appropriate focus for Brazil in the near term is the electrification of urban buses. This would combine the environmental benefits from electrification with investments in urban mobility and the promotion of public transit over individual motorization.

This study was completed under the PROMOB-e, a technical cooperation project executed by the Brazilian Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC) in partnership with the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.