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How Shenzhen transforms itself to become a model for e-mobility adoption

V Rishi Kumar Recently in Shenzhen | Updated on December 27, 2019 Published on December 27, 2019

Green drive In just about 40 years , Shenzhen has now become a reference city for electric mobility adoption

Entire public transport system of the city, which has 17,000 buses and over 20,000 cabs, is now electric powered

From a small fishing village located on the coastline of the South China Sea close to Hong Kong, Shenzhen has transformed itself into an ultra modern metropolitan city with a population of 20 million, including floating.

In just about 40 years, it has now become a reference city for electric mobility adoption.

Developed as a model special economic zone by the Chinese Government, Shenzhen, during Deng Xioping regime, is home to some of the biggest home-grown companies that include Huawei Technologies, Tencent, BYD among others. In barely four decades since its early planning, it has emerged one of the most buoyant cities in the world, transforming itself into an ultra modern urban hub with modern transport network of metro rail and public transport buses.

Aided by the Chinese government with generous subsidies, the entire transport bus fleet in Shenzhen, which is about 17,000-strong, have all gone electric, while thousands of cabs (more than 22,000) have all gone electric, setting an example to the world on how it has transformed its entire public transport network into electric bus fleet.

Joseph Ma, Deputy General Manger, Shenzhen Bus Group Company, explained how, in barely 10 years, the entire public transport network of the city have all now electric powered.

Ma said: “This would not have been possible but for the support and funding by the Chinese government, which had taken a policy decision to transform public transport into electric mobility, and also support from the local municipality.”

Hybrid buses

Around the year 2007-8, the first set of hybrid dual train buses were deployed, followed by electric buses in the Shenzhen Bus in 2011 and gradually the entire fleet of buses of not just this company but two other operators providing public transport, were slowly moved to hybrid buses and then gradually to electric buses. Significantly, not just the buses, but all the cabs operated by the company are now electric. Taking through the command and control centre in the headquarters, Ma explained how the entire fleet management is handled remotely with at least seven cameras fitted on each bus, powered by GPS network, helping move about 2 million passengers per day and about 800 million passengers per annum.

“We have to compete with the metro services. Our’s is a smart bus fleet and the cost of bus management has been reduced to 50 per cent. And as per government’s mandate we retire buses after eight years in service,” he said.

Ma said, “Some of the transport networks from India, including from Delhi, visited them and that he would love to be associated with them sharing the learning and experience.”

Ma said that around 2010, there was growing concern about vehicular pollution and the focus was shifted to early adoption of electric mobility. A number of other cities too are expected to deploy electric mobility.

Infra development

While the transport system has changed in the past 12 years, when this correspondent first visited Shenzhen in 2007, the city has seen remarkable transformation, with ultra modern high rise buildings, amazing road and rail networks and dime a dozen malls.

Among the tall buildings that have come up, the Ping An Finance Centre stands the tallest, at 600 metres. Considered to be the tallest office building complex in the world, and the fourth tallest with 116 floors. It provides an amazing panoramic view of Shenzen City. One can make it to the top in 55 seconds at 10 metres per second to embrace the sky and land in the ground floor in lesser time, without realising the height. IT could have become the tallest in the world but for the restrictions imposed by the aviation authorities.

It took about seven years to develop the structure, where some of thee biggest names in the world have taken office space. It is second tallest building in China and the 4th tallest building in the world. It also broke the record of having the highest observation deck in a building at 562.2 m (1,844 ft).

The progress made by Shenzhen in electric mobility is being closely tracked globally.

This correspondent was in Shenzhen at the invitation of BYD

Published on December 27, 2019
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