electric bus Scharfsinn86/iStock/Thinkstock

Plug-In Electric Bus Sales Way Up

Adoption of electric buses expected to be focused in regions with government funding due to high upfront cost

A new report from Navigant Research examines the global market for medium and heavy duty electric drive buses, providing an analysis of key market and technology issues, policies, and manufacturer profiles.

In the electric drive bus market, costs of key components such as batteries, motors, and power electronics are declining thanks to increasing volume. These improvements are helping plug-in hybrid and battery electric buses become more viable for fleets, and sales are poised to grow across all geographic markets through 2027.

According to the new repor, orders for plug-in electric buses have boomed in the past 18 months, with a  40 percent increase in sales from 2016 to 2017, as the technology on offer from bus companies has improved in performance and in price.

“Transit agencies are interested in battery electric buses, thanks to their potential for lower operating costs in addition to having zero emissions and reduced noise,” says Lisa Jerram, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “New orders for electric buses are growing rapidly, although the transition to battery electric buses will take many years, as agencies test the technology and bus manufacturers ramp up production.”

Despite increasing sales of electric buses, conventional engines will continue to be the powertrain of choice for buses in many markets during the next 10 years, according to the report. The upfront cost for an electric drive bus continues to be an issue; thus, adoption tends to be focused in regions with government support. In all regions except for China, hybrid buses are expected to continue to capture greater market share than plug-in buses in the near-term, thanks to the lower price premium, lack of infrastructure investment, and the wealth of real-world operational experience.

The report, Market Data: Electric Drive Buses, which provides an analysis of key market and technology issues, regional policies, and profiles of many vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers, focusses its analysis of the global market for medium and heavy duty electric drive buses on the following powertrains:

  • Gasoline hybrid
  • Gasoline plug-in hybrid
  • Diesel hybrid
  • Diesel plug-in hybrid
  • Battery electric
  • Hydrogen fuel cells

In addition, global market forecasts for annual sales and vehicle population are segmented by, country, and powertrain type, and extend through 2027. The Excel databook accompanying this report also includes pivot tables for electric drive bus sales and population by country, segment, and powertrain type.

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