Towards renewable public transport: Mining the performance of electric buses using solar-radiation as an auxiliary power source

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - asia, place - urban, operations - performance, operations - scheduling, infrastructure - fleet management, infrastructure - maintainance, infrastructure - vehicle, technology - alternative fuels


Electric buses, Solar radiation-generated electricity, Spatio-temporal distribution, Operation schedule


Transforming the road public transport to run on renewable energy is vital solution to achieve carbon neutral and net zero goals. This paper evaluates the potential of using solar radiation-generated electricity as an auxiliary power supplementary for the battery of electric buses, based on a developed framework that using publicly street-view panoramas, GPS trajectory data and DEM data as input parameters of solar radiation model. A case study of Qingdao, China with 547 bus routes, 28,661 street-view panoramas shows that the solar-radiation electricity generated at noon during the operation accounts for about one-fifth, one-eighth of the total electricity consumption of a bus traveling one kilometer in a sunny day and a cloudy day, respectively. Spatial variability shows significant solar-radiation power generation advantages in newly-launched areas and expressway. The solar power generated in a sunny day can make a bus half of passengers and with air conditioner off at least one extra trip in 2:1 replacement schedule, and nearly close to one extra trip in 4:3 replacement schedule. A correlated relation between the solar-radiation power generation benefit and the operation schedule of electric buses is observed, implying that the high cost of 2:1 replacement schedule for long-distance routes during summer or winter can be reduced. The proposed framework can help us evaluate and understand the feasibility of solar radiation-generated electricity energy of electric bus fleets covering the large-scale urban areas at different times, locations, and weather conditions, so as to support effective decisions at better planning of PV-integrated electric buses.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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