Plug-in buses are not a new idea (examples here, here and here) but transportation planners in China seem to think that there is a benefit to getting them on the streets that goes beyond reducing fuel costs. A plug-in hybrid school bus developed by Enova Systems and IC Bus, for example, saw a 70 percent drop in diesel use, but the real benefit to the emerging plug-in bus network in cities like Beijing, where 50 such buses are in use now and 250 more are scheduled to go into service this year, could that they are paving the way for passenger plug-in vehicles. Since the buses are used on fixed routes, it's easier to get the battery-swap and plug-in infrastructure in place for them than it might otherwise be for a fleet of plug-in passenger cars. Once the system is there, expanding it to smaller vehicles is much more doable. Shanghai, writes China Daily, is planning on installing "400 more roadside charging points and seven to 10 large charging stations by the end of this year." With the Chinese government working to provide subsidies for plug-in vehicle purchases and a population ready for electric vehicles, the plan is a logical one. Thanks to Mos Dear for the tip!

[Source: China Daily | Image: the_toe_stubber - C.C. License 2.0]

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