One of the busiest routes in Shanghai, Nanjing Xi Lu, is home to two different kinds of electric buses.
The first is a fleet of blue trolleybuses that run on bus route 20, which was established in 1928 by a transport corporation with British ownership. They have maintained the route in this manner for almost a century, receiving electricity from lines overhead via poles on their roofs.
The new buses that are swooping alongside the vintage trolleybuses, however, are emblems of China’s current net-zero aim, while the former serve as a reminder of Europe’s past technological innovation.
Starting in 2014, thousands of these sleek and contemporary electric buses—which run on lithium batteries rather than wires—were introduced in Shanghai. In contrast to the once common diesel-fueled