One recent trend that is nice to see is the increased interest in electric buses (or e-buses). As countries and cities look towards more sustainable ways of mass transportation, a new report by Pike Research confirms a real serious interest towards e-buses.
The new report shows the electric bus market between now and 2018 will increase at an annual compound growth rate of 26%. The report also noted 75,000 e-buses will be up and running by 2018.
As the electric bus market continues to mature, there have been many challenges for e-buses trying to find their way into the commercial markets.
“The biggest challenge for electric drive technologies has been the cost premium over conventional diesel buses or buses that run on compressed natural gas,” said Lisa Jerram, senior research analyst in with Pike Research in the statement.
“This premium has maintained for hybrids, even as they have seen significant adoption in the North American market. Fuel economy savings are critical to making the case for bus operators to pay more, especially in developed countries that are facing increasing austerity in their public budgets. Typically, hybrid buses need to show fuel economy improvements of around 40 percent, at current U.S. diesel prices, to pay off the price premium over the life of the bus,” she said.
It’s expected that emerging markets will see strong demand for e-buses as they become more and more cost-competitive. Such markets include Latin America and Eastern Europe.
TheGreenCar Website, discussing the report, mentioned that much of the Latin American demand will come from Brazil, with some underlying support from other countries in the region, specifically Uruguay.
The report points to the Asia-Pacific market seeing the strongest growth. It’s expected that, in 2018, 15,000 e-buses will be sold in the Asia-Pacific region, about 75% of e-bus sales that year. Meanwhile, North America e-bus sales in 2018 will fall just short of 2018, the statement said.
Despite North America lagging in the future compared to it’s Asian counterparts, The Greencar Website did give some interesting insight on the report on overall bus sales in both North America and Europe:
“It suggests that North America will enjoy a rebound in a few years when the economy stables; while sales of electric drive buses in Western Europe should see steady growth – at a rate of 20 per cent – as the hybrid market begins to take off.”
Overall, the report really gives some clear insight on where the strongest sales for e-buses will be: the emerging markets of Latin America. That shows yet again the potential for leapfrogging technologies that will allow these countries to have solid modern transportation using cleaner electrons.