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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Electrified Buses Provide Life Cycle Environmental Benefits but Need Cost Reductions and Policy Support for Near-Term Adoption

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In December 2018, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the Innovative Clean Transit regulation, which is designed to transition the state to all-electric bus fleets by 2040. To comply with this first-of its-kind regulation, transit agencies have two alternatives: battery electric buses (BEBs) and hydrogen fuel cell electric buses (FCEBs). These options vary in energy requirements, overall effectiveness in reducing different emission types, associated life cycle costs (including disposal of the bus), and ability to meet operating needs of transit agencies. To support transit agencies and decision makers transition to cleaner bus technologies, researchers at UC Irvine developed a life cycle-based analysis (LCA) tool to estimate the potential costs and benefits of switching to BEBs and FCEBs compared to conventional buses. The LCA tool was tested on the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to better understand the environmental impacts and cost constraints.

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