Developing a clean public e-bus fleet

Basic Information







Increasing the number of electric buses circulating in the city was part of Rome’s efforts to achieve a zero-emissions area in the city centre.

Implementing sustainable mobility

The first electric buses were introduced in Rome in 1989. Since 1996, a relatively large fleet of 42 buses has been operating on three lines, representing a total of 1,200,000 vehicle km per year (around 1 percent of services offered on the surface network).

Based on the experience gained with electric buses, the specific objective of this measure was to increase the number of electric buses circulating in the city centre by purchasing new electric buses with higher transport capacity in order to serve a larger area. These new electric buses would provide a “clean” bus service dedicated to the newly implemented limited access zones in Trastevere and San Lorenzo.


The public transport operator ATAC expanded its existing fleet of 42 electric vehicles by purchasing 10 new electric minibuses each with a capacity of 27 passengers. This brought the number of lines operated by electric buses to five, with a total length of 20.2 km. The buses have a range of 190 km/day, with intermediate battery recharging.


The new e-buses proved ideal for use on the city’s narrow streets and were greatly welcomed by passengers as they are non-polluting, comfortable and silent. Drawbacks were there relatively small capacity, lack of dynamism and limited range of around 45 km, or six hours of operation, after which the vehicle must return to the depot for its battery to be replaced by a fully charged one. Operation costs and fleet size, in comparison to the service offered, are obviously higher than in the case of conventional buses.

Based on the measure, it was concluded that electric vehicles will continue to be a key element in efforts to create a zero-emissions city centre, but that performance upgrading will require advanced technological solutions. During CIVITAS MIRACLES, plans were made to procure 36 more medium-sized e-buses, each with a capacity of 36 passengers, to run on two new lines. The range of the new buses would be doubled due to the use of a new type of battery.


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