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Electric Bus Sales Exploding In China (2010–2015)

Solid figures for plug-in electric bus sales in China have been somewhat hard to come by to date, leaving many to speculate blindly on the rapid growth that seems to be occurring in the sector there.

That has changed now, somewhat, as the EV Sales blog recently published some figures pertaining to the subject. It’s hard to know how accurate the figures are, especially when one considers the opaque nature of China’s plug-in electric industry and the accompanying fraud (see this), but they reportedly come from a report from a Chinese university.

If true, the growth is clearly impressive, with a huge jump in sales/registrations over the last few years (coinciding with a strong push towards the technology by authorities in the country) and especially in 2015.

Here are the figures and a chart we created to visualize them:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
BEV 523 1136 1904 1672 12760 94260
PHEV 1478 313 2637 16500 23051
HEV 3804 2825 5825 6111 797

Here’s some accompanying information: “It’s hard to believe these staggering numbers, isn’t it? … assuming the numbers are real, it is even more outlandish the fact that BYD, that many believe to be the Master on Electric Buses, was actually only the Sixth Largest (5,631 units) plug-in bus maker in China, behind Yutong (15,369), Nanjing KL (9,012), Zhongtong (8,904), Suchao KL (7,115) and Dongfeng (5,761) and there are at least 15 Chinese electric bus makers, all having sold above 100 units in 2015.”

As noted above, though, it’s not clear exactly how accurate these numbers are. In the linked coverage, Jose Pontes notes that: “If anyone wishes to confirm or debate these arguments, please do so, as it would help a lot to have a better picture of what’s going on here.”

The Chinese numbers certainly dwarf those of the US plug-in electric bus sector. Though, things certainly are starting to pick up in the US, with BYD’s and Proterra’s orders, in particular, growing rapidly in the last few years.


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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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