Oslo - Oslo is on course to become the first capital city in the world with an all-electric public transport system, targeting that goal for the end of 2023 as part of its aim to become the world's first wholly emissions-free city by 2030.
The transport push entails replacing its diesel-fuelled buses with 450 electric ones, under a 500 million crown ($47 million) programme that Sirin Stav, Vice-Mayor responsible for environment and transport, said will save the city money over the long term.
"The maintenance is cheaper, it's also cheaper for the operators of the electric buses," she said. "All in all, this is a win-win situation."
She encourages other cities to follow Oslo's example - the city of 700,000 has already electrified most of the ferries that ply the fjord on which it is located - and notes that, in its last tender, e-buses were 5% cheaper than diesel equivalents.
Oslo's move comes amid a global push by major cities worldwide to try to cut their air pollution, and as governments and activists finalise preparations for next month's COP27 U.N. climate summit in Egypt.
Ingvild Roerholt, an adviser on transport questions at ZERO, a Norwegian environmental group, said the bus rollout marked an important step forward for the city.
"However, it is important that Oslo going forward makes sure there is transparency in how much emissions are associated with the production of these ferries and vehicles," she added.
($1 = 10.7344 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Gwladys Fouche and John Stonestreet)