Electric Bus Orders More Than Doubled Last Year In Europe

NOV 10 2018 BY MARK KANE 28

EV bus sales doubled in 2017 and will double again in 2018

According to Transport & Environment, the number of orders for electric buses in Europe more than doubled from roughly 400 in 2016 to 1,031 in 2017.

As the EV orders stand for 9% of total volume, we can fairly note that the electric bus market share is several times higher than in the case of passenger cars and that’s totally expected as buses have fixed routes, depots for overnight charging and the majority of mileage in cities, which makes them especially suitable for electrification.

The market is expected to double in 2018 as the number of buses ordered during the first half of this year (including trolleybuses with batteries) almost exceed the number for all of 2017.

Yearly electric bus orders in Europe from 2009 to H12018

There are now about 1,600 electric buses in Europe and another 1,60areis ordered and will be delivered (typically in 9-12 months).

The biggest markets that hold more than half of sales are:

  • Netherlands
  • UK
  • France
  • Poland
  • Germany

Three manufacturers delivered about half of all electric buses in Europe:

  • BYD – 600
  • VDL – 500
  • Solaris about – 330

Total electric bus fleet including orders in Europe (up to H1 2018)

TCO comparison of electric and diesel buses

The biggest barrier for higher adoption of EV buses are high upfront costs and still lack of scale that would make such buses more competitive.

Despite that, electric buses already have a lower total cost of ownership over an eight-year period when we include additional factors like health costs (air quality and noise).

Source: Transport & Environment via Green Car Congress

Categories: Bus, BYD

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28 Comments on "Electric Bus Orders More Than Doubled Last Year In Europe"

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I think Polaris is Polish/Spanish and VDL is Dutch, so I hope they can build their market share going forward. It would be cool to see New Flyer and Proterra get a few orders but building a European bus industry is more important than North American businesses getting a slice of the pie.

Polaris? I think you mean Solaris, which is Polish. (Originally Neoplan Polska, but later became independent.)

Spain has their own makers though — as do most other European countries. (I think buses might be the least globalised vehicle market?) Good news is that pretty much all of them seem to be introducing or about to introduce EV buses by now — though early adopters like Solaris or VDL started years ago…

“Spain has their own makers though”

E.g. in Spain Irizar and Vectia makes electric buses.

Solaris was acquired by CAF just months ago. CAF is Spanish railroad and tram equipment producer.

Thank you for the good news. Other reasons why buses should jump ahead of cars in EV adoption nowadays:

– The purchase decision is not by the finicky individual consumer, but by transportation organizations, most of whom are supposed to follow a climate/pollution mitigation policy
– Design-wise it is relatively easy and cheap to stick as big a battery as needed at the bottom of the bus
– The Chinese EV makers have jumped ahead and provide plenty of good quality reasonably priced e-Buses. To wit, the lead supplier to Europe is BYD, despite Europe being home to the planet’s 3rd-largest busmaker (M-Benz) which is still asleep at the wheel.

“– Design-wise it is relatively easy and cheap to stick as big a battery as needed at the bottom of the bus”

Surprisingly electric city buses usually have the batteries on the roof. The reason is is to make the floor as low as possible to allow easier entry for wheel chairs and prams. E.g. buses from Solaris, Irizar and BYD.

“planet’s 3rd-largest busmaker (M-Benz) which is still asleep at the wheel.”

Mercedes has finally awoken, they launched the E-Citaro electric bus last summer and has started production.


Daimler invested in Proterra ,so they should see higher volumes going forward.

Many cities in the USA are also migrating to electric bus fleets, with Seattle and Los Angeles. The benefits far outweigh the costs. I think this switch over is going to happen quite quickly!

9% share how? Birmingham UK has 1200 buses in one city.

So they would order about 100 buses per year or so. Or about 1% of the total.

That means they must be buying ~150 new buses on average per year. If 13.5 of these are electric, that makes for a 9% share…

For context Birmingham is not ordering any. Instead they are buy 15 hygrogen fuel cell buses at £500 a piece.

At £500 a piece, that might actually be a good deal, if they get subsidized fuel as well 😉

Fuel is just fraction of cost for city bus operators. Although everything counts of course, nobody can or want just raise bus ticket prices 20% as passengers are price sensitive.comment image


That’s funny: an obviously biased study making obviously unrealistic assumptions *still* doesn’t see hydrogen vehicles being cheaper than BEVs 😛

As for the Birmingham, their declared goal is to become compliant with air quality legislation and introduce clean air zone in the city centre.

FC buses are a bit better for this purpose as they actively filter and clean dirty outside air, not just avoid emissions.

I bet adding the same filter to a BEV would still make it a lot cheaper than a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle…

(Not that it’s going to make any meaningful difference anyway… Hydrogen lobby grasping for straws.)

Where can you order a hydrogen fuel cell bus for only £500?

It is JIVE2 (current EU project) cost, max €625k-650k per standard bus. And it is just 152 buses across multiple cities in Europe. EU pays €200k out of it.

For the next step, there is proposition from known industry players (Solaris, Ballard, NEL) for €450k per bus, assuming 100 buses/year and beyond year 2020.
There is nothing special in FC bus comparing to diesel electric hybrid, just FC system instead of engine. It isn’t made of pure gold to cost hundreds of thousands extra when produced at scale, and you don’t need some costly compromises to operate it for 2 shifts in winter or on hills.

10% is better than zero, one step at a time.

That’s actually pretty significant… Didn’t think it’s that good already.

Only need to keep this rate increase for 4 more years….

Nice to see the TCO calculations… Though I’m surprised that EV buses still fare slightly worse without externalities, and only slightly better with. (The externalities in this calculation seem strangely low…)

Also interesting that large batteries already have parity with opportunity charging… That means as battery costs keep going down, they soon should become clearly the better option.

What’s the average lifespan of a city bus?

Some googling shows it really depends on the country and application. I found anywhere between 10-18 years.

I’m by no means an expert: but I believe I have seen eight years mentioned as a typical lifespan? Which is probably why the TCO calculation uses eight years…

NYC Transit buses have a 12-year lifetime per Abstract section/paragraph in the following report.


battery powered buses are far less maintenance intensive than ICE ones as well as being 5 times more fuel efficient, cleaner and quieter. Should last 20+ years. Current battery powered buses prices are too high. Example US school buses (admitted a special case ). Regular 50 seat diesel current Daimler quote is $100,00-120,000 and for battery bus $220,000. That’s like substituting the entire diesel power pack+transmission+filters with a $120,000 Tesla with all its options!! The entire electric power pack +motors + 30kw battery should cost at most $20,000, less than the current 3-400 hp diesel system including transmission and drives. 30 kw (vs 90 kw for Tesla) because the average school bus runs only 30-60 miles per school day but split twice i.e., morning run 6-9 a.m. bringing cost centers to school, idling at depot if necessary charging battery between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. then taking cost centers home 2-5 p.m. Idling 6 pm to 6 am charging battery during early hours when grid price kwh is lowest vs doing it twixt 10 a.m. and 1 p.m when it’s highest. That’s 80% of the time, 20% is for runs out of school like away matches and education trips which… Read more »