The major reasons for the increasing sales of electric buses in the U.S. are the governments’ strict emission norms and funding for potential buyers, long-term cost benefits of these automobiles for transit companies, and declining battery prices. As a result, the U.S. electric bus market will grow at a 58.4% CAGR during 2020–2024 (forecast period), to reach $2,675.1 million by 2024.
The U.S. electric bus market is set to witness sluggish progress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, owing to the auto plant shutdowns in compliance with the government’s infection containment directives. Moreover, due to the social distancing measures in place and for some time after the pandemic is over, public buses are expected to see a low ridership, which would discourage mobility companies from paying huge sums for procuring electric buses.
In 2019, the U.S. electric bus market was dominated by the hybrid electric bus (HEB) category, based on vehicle type. This is attributed to the long-standing presence of hybrid electric technology in passenger cars, which is why it was also adopted in buses before the pure-electric technology.
The highest U.S. electric bus market CAGR during the forecast period will be witnessed by the lithium-ion (Li-ion) category, based on battery. Compared to nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and other batteries, Li-ion variants have a higher energy density, which allows for a longer driving range. In addition, Li-ion batteries are lightweight, small, slow self-discharging, and witnessing a continuous reduction in their prices.
With a handful of companies holding the majority of the share, the U.S. electric bus market is consolidated in nature. In order to make the most of this situation before new players emerge, key automakers are focusing on winning client contracts for the supply of their buses. For instance, in October 2018, Proterra Inc. received an order for three of its 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 electric buses from the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA). The transit authority is planning to utilize much of its $14.4-million funding for replacing its 20 end-of-life diesel buses with electric variants.
In the same way, in August 2018, BYD Company Ltd. was contracted by the state of Georgia to supply electric buses to the latter. With this initiative, the state government is aiming to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its capital, Atlanta, by almost 40% by 2030 from the levels recorded in 2009.
Major U.S. electric bus market players include BYD Company Ltd., Proterra Inc., NFI Group Inc., GreenPower Motor Company Inc., GILLIG LLC, Blue Bird Corporation, Nova Bus Corporation, and The Lion Electric Co.