VW's first electric bus begins service in mid-March

It's a big step for eco-friendly mass transit.

The I.D. Buzz might not be the first electric Volkswagen bus you see roaming the streets. VW's Scania brand has announced that its first electric bus, the Citywide Low Floor, is going into full-fledged service in the Swedish town of Österlund in mid-March. And it's not a tiny experimental run, either. The initial three buses will run a 9.3-mile route with about 40 stops, and they'll make a total of 100 trips each day. The vehicles' 10-minute charging intervals (helped by massive charging stations) keep them from being sidelined for hours like typical electric cars.

This certainly isn't the first electric bus. Scania is a powerhouse in the mass transit world, however, and this deployment could lead to many more public transit systems adopting electric transport. And it's not necessarily just for the sake of environmental concerns. Electric buses are potentially cheaper to run (both due to fuel savings and lower maintenance), and they're much quieter -- you don't have to endure the noise of massive diesel engines. Real-world service like this could illustrate the benefits and increase adoption beyond a handful of cities.