Developing an electric mobility system in the city

Shenzhen electric mobility policy Developing an electric mobility system in the city


The need - Many cities struggle with poor air quality. In Shenzhen, it was estimated that fuel vehicles contributed up to 20% of the city’s air pollution. The local and national government wanted to explore possible developments to cut emissions, reduce noise pollution, and improve air quality - in addition to managing current overcapacity of electric power.

The solution - Switching to a 100% electric mobility system creates opportunities and potential for additional revenue streams. Introduction of new service models that allow organisations to rent e-buses and batteries furthermore reduces the barrier of high up-front investments and creates new market incentives to manufacturers.

The outcomes - In 2017, the city became the first in the world to reach a goal of 100% electrically run buses. The national piloting scheme has encouraged the development of the local electric vehicle industry, which is expanding to a global market. The lessons from the pilot are being extended to other mobility forms.

How does the initiative support the transition to a circular economy? - Electrification of vehicles is an important step in enabling a transition to renewable, low-carbon energy. The adoption of new service models also incentivises manufacturers to design vehicle components that are maintained and kept in use, retaining value. Further work is also underway to improve battery technologies which encourage reuse, charging speeds, and suitability for a wider range of vehicles.

Explore more about Circular Economy in Cities

This case study belongs to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy in Cities suite of online resources, which acts as a reference point for urban policymakers on the circular economy. It draws out opportunities in three key urban systems - buildings, mobility, and products - and looks at how city governments can enable a circular economy transition.

Five modules aim to answer the critical questions on this topic:

  • Vision: What will the implementation of circular economy principles in cities look like?
  • Factsheets: What are the circular economy opportunities in key urban systems and what benefits can a circular economy transition bring?
  • Policy levers: What can urban policymakers do to accelerate this transition?
  • Case studies: What examples are there of urban policymakers already putting this into action?
  • Other networks & resources: What are other organisations doing on the topic of circular economy and cities?

Shenzhen - case study


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