Navigant: Global Bus Sales To Be Dominated By Battery Electric Powertrain Through 2026


In a new report titled “Medium and Heavy Duty Buses with Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid, Battery Electric, and Fuel Cell Powertrains: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts”, Navigant Research predicts that BEVs will be the leading powertrain for buses launched from now through at least 2026.

Proterra E2 Catalyst Bus With 660 kWh (no misprint) Battery - Enabling 350+ Miles Of Real World Range

Proterra E2 Catalyst Bus With 660 kWh (no misprint) Battery – Enabling 350+ Miles Of Real World Range

Navigant expects sales for electric buses to grow from 119,141 in 2016 to 181,055 in 2026. And while that growth doesn’t seem tremendous, we have to remember that the bus market is comparatively small (especially compared to passenger cars at least) and that buses are extremely expensive.

As for other types of alternative propulsion for buses, conventional hybrids will continue to grow steadily, but slowly, over the next 10 years.  Fuel cell buses will grow too, but remain just a tiny/insignificant portion of bus sales. As for plug-in hybrid buses, they will grow for a few years more, before tapering off in favor of all-electrics.

Lastly, Navigant predicts that the vast majority of these bus sales will occur in the Asia-Pacific region, mostly in China to be precise. Growth there will largely be driven by China’s decision to increase incentives on plug-in and battery-electric buses and the dense population-to-income curves.

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18 Comments on "Navigant: Global Bus Sales To Be Dominated By Battery Electric Powertrain Through 2026"

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350 Miles Range? Is that 7 hours at 50 Mph, or 5 Hours at 70 Mph, or… 10 Hours at 35 Mph???

When they can build Greyhound or Trailways like coaches that can drive 5 hours at 70 Mph with 48 Passengers, and recharge at a Bus Station in an Hour, then do it again, they will have become real choices in Bus transportation!

Such vehicle bases could be used for large Motor Homes as well!

Proterra has a charger that can recharge the bus’s batteries in 13 minutes, so they’re way ahead of you 🙂

To recharge a 660 kWh battery in 13 minutes you would need 3 MW continous charging…

That is “just” 60 times your average Chademo/CCS charger. 😛

Proterra has stated a max of 500 kW charging. Which would mean fully charging it in 79 minutes, assuming it could keep 500 kW continous (which it can’t of course).

Almost all buses are used in cities or for relatively short intercity travels.

There is little need for “Greyhound or Trailways like coaches that can drive 5 hours at 70 Mph with 48 Passengers”. That is a tiny segment at best of buses.

There are few countries in the world that even allows buses to go 70 mph.

I see they have high hopes for fuel cells.

80,000+ BEV buses have been sold in 2016? I didn’t realize the number was that high. I’m assuming that the vast majority were sold in China. Does anyone know the breakdown of BEV bus sales for the US, Europe, etc.?

It’s your bias fault!

You have to lift your eye out of your microscope FCEV staring to see the whole picture. 🙂

Yes, BEB (battery electric buse) are all around in China.

But 120K is doubtfull.

The breakdown is approximately like this: ~94 000 BEV buses sold in China in 2015. Less than 1000 BEV buses sold in Europe.
Less than 300 BEV buses sold in USA.

When I think of the electric current already in, for instance, subway infrastructure, I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that city buses will lean much heavier on BEV power trains. We haven’t talked much about city/trans electric consumption, but watts in the hundreds of thousands are already there to be used.

The title to this article should really read Global ELECTRIFIED Bus Sales To Be Dominated By Battery Electric Powertrain Through 2026.

Total global bus sales this year will be about 600,000 units, growing a little over 5%/yr to over 660,000 in 2018. The proportion of those that are electrified (HEV, PHEV, FCEV or BEV) will be about 20% through that period, and growing through 2026.

I’m not questioning the benefits of a BEV bus fleet or saying that the growing electrification is not happening or that it might not grow even faster than predicted. I rode on a BEV bus in Shanghai last year and in Louisville, KY in October. If that’s not a sign they’re growing in popularity I don’t know what is.

But the majority of the expected global bus purchases are expected to be pure ICE powered for the foreseeable future.

Nearly all newly-purchased city buses will be BEVs within 10 years (hopefully sooner) because the TCO case is already overwhelming.

Nathanael, the winning TCO case is marginally true (not overwhelming) whenever there is significant additional contribution from state/provincial or national governments — I’m speaking of OECD countries here. But not without adding in some speculative monetization of assumed non-economic benefit, and definitely not without some incentive funding.

Please don’t mistake my point. I have long been a proponent of cleaning up busses and MD/HD trucks. I was involved in the first successful electrified A/C system for urban busses, removing the belt-driven compressor from the engine. This was a very long road. I’m just telling you that transport bureaucrats are not using the same numbers as the optimistic ones you see in the advocate press.

Particularly in the US, where public transport systems are funded by bond issues, the measureable cost of capital is a significant driver. Also, the growing availability and reliability of NG-fueled engines (and the presently very low price of CNG) is a very attractive alternative around the world.

The chart in this story would be much more interesting if all buses were included. Traditional Diesel, CNG, and any other Alt-Fuels should be included to see the overall picture.

They are not going to dominate over ICE buses right? Headline kinda misleading.

King County Metro in Seattle is currently running a 12-month testing period of 3 Proterra battery-electric buses. The results will determine whether the current level of battery electric bus technology is capable of replacing their 40′ diesel coaches. It will also compare the performance of battery electric buses against Metro’s diesel-hybrid vehicles. The testing will wrap up in February 2017.

KCM Proterra fleet performance is here:

Are there really 120k e-Bus sales in 2016?

They must be all in China, then. Haven’t heard of much sales elsewhere. Maybe in the hundreds, but not in the tens of thousands.

China sold ~117000 plugin buses in 2015.