The long-term economic benefits to transit agencies, environmental benefits, availability of local, state, and federal funding for zero-emission buses, falling battery costs, and improving operational efficiencies are the major growth drivers for the U.S. electric bus market. Due to the aforementioned factors, the industry is projected to generate $1,924.8 million revenue in 2026, advancing at a CAGR of 31.4% during 2021–2026.
The preventive measures taken by the federal and various state governments, such as complete lockdown and even curfew in hotspot areas, killed the demand for automobiles, in general, and electric vehicles (EVs), in particular. Major American markets were badly hit by COVID-19, which caused and may continue to cause major economic and financial disruptions in the EV industry. However, the governments at the national, state, and county levels are providing funds and making attractive policies to promote low- or zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) purchase. Thus, due to these factors, the market for electric bus was having a minimal impact during pandemic.
The electric bus market of the U.S. is categorized into battery electric bus (BEB), hybrid electric bus (HEB), and plug-in hybrid electric bus (PHEB), based on vehicle type. Among these, the BEB category dominated the market in 2021. BEBs have recorded advancements over the time, particularly in their batteries, along with support from both government and private programs, which drive the demand for them.
Moreover, the market for electric buses in the U.S. is categorized into plug-in, pantograph, and inductive, based on charging type. Among these, the inductive charging category is expected to witness the highest growth rate during the forecast period (2022–2026) owing to the capability of this technology to quickly charge the electric buses. Further, several manufacturers of charging systems are engaging in partnerships and collaborations with bus makers and public transit authorities to augment the adoption of these systems.
Players in the U.S. electric bus industry are involved in partnerships and geographical expansions to gain a significant position. For instance, in October 2021, BYD and Levo Mobility LLC, a joint venture of Nuvve Holding Corp., affiliates of Stonepeak Partners LP, and Evolve Transition Infrastructure LP, which provides fleet-as-a-service (FaaS) solutions enabling fleets to switch to EVs, announced a collaboration to integrate Nuvve’s V2G technology with BYD’s BEVs and plans for the joint deployment of up to 5,000 BEVs over the next five years.
Similarly, in January 2019, Proterra Inc. entered the Hawaiian market by signing a contract for the supply of electric buses to JTB Hawaii Inc., a travel service provider. Travel Plaza Transportation LLC (TPT), a Hawaii-based subsidiary of JTB Hawaii Inc., agreed to purchase three 40-foot Proterra Catalyst E2 and Proterra 60-kilowatt (kW) plug-in chargers. With this purchase, JTB Hawaii Inc.’s intended to replace three of its 17 diesel-fueled transit buses.
Major players operating in the electric bus market of the U.S. include Proterra Inc., BYD Motors Inc., NFI Group Inc., GreenPower Motor Company Inc., GILLIG LLC, Blue Bird Corporation, AB Volvo, The Lion Electric Co., Daimler AG, and REV Group Inc.