Electric bus market poised for huge growth in coming years

22 October 2020 Consultancy.eu

Electric buses are poised for huge growth in the coming two decades. By 2040, electric buses could form more than 50 percent of the total bus fleet, according to a report by Arthur D. Little. 

Making transport systems in cities more sustainable is a key priority of countries and cities globally. Illustrating the potential at hand, road transport accounts for almost 20 percent of total CO2 emissions. While the shift to more use of public transport does address this problem, this shift is certainly not enough to meet the Paris 2030 climate goals.

New research by global management consultancy Arthur D. Little however shows that the shift to ecological urban road public transport is gaining speed – diesel buses are being banned in cities around the world, and fully electric, plug-in hybrid, natural gas (CNG), and fuel cell buses that reduce urban noise and do not pollute are increasing. 

Global municipal e-bus fleet

In 2019, there were about 3,000 electric buses in Europe and the United States, and although this represents only 1% of buses on the roads in these regions, this number will grow rapidly in the coming years. The city of Paris for instance plans to buy more than 800 electric buses in the coming years, while Moscow intends to abandon purchasing of diesel buses after 2021 and procure 600–800 electric buses annually. 

In Sweden, Gothenburg has announced the intent of make all if its buses electric in the coming years. Meanwhile, one of Europe’s cities with the largest number of buses, London, has committed to procuring only zero-emission buses starting in 2025. The Netherlands ranks as one of the frontrunners in electric buses, with 15% of its operational fleet now electric, with further growth planned for 2020 and 2021. 

On the global stage, China is however by a distance the leader in the green bus transformation. According to an estimate by Bloomberg, sourced by Arthur D. Little, at the start of last year, 99% of the global electric bus fleet – or 421,000 out of 425,000 electric buses – was operational in China.

In major cities such as Shenzhen, all ICE buses have been replaced with e-buses, helped by a supporting policy from the government. However, the annual growth rate of the e-bus fleet is expected to slow down due to termination of subsidies, which will take effect by the end of 2020. 

Factoring in plans for electrical bus intakes in other parts of the world, by 2040, electric buses could exceed 1.3 million globally and form more than 50 percent of the total bus fleet.