This week I’m looking at the electric bus market.

Last week we saw BYD present the biggest electric bus that has ever been built at the 2014 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Expo in Houston. This is a significant step and so I looked further at what else is happening in the industry. Perhaps you may have seen in market forecasts for the next decade that electric bus use is growing rapidly especially in China and USA. Since BYD is a Chinese electric bus manufacturer and has introduced this impressive EV in the US market – I have focused on these two markets. Read on to find out some interesting developments.

USA

The extent to which public transportation use has increased in America is quite remarkable. According to  APTA, in 2014 it rose to 10.7 billion passenger trips which is the highest number in 57 years and shows signs to continue growing rapidly. So this vehicle solution is very relevant. Government investment in hybrid and full electric buses is also growing as a way to protect the environment, which is also driving this change.

So, how are American electric bus manufacturers taking advantage of this? New Flyer announced that they are also working on expanding their product line with a 60-foot battery electric vehicle. Also, Proterra has partnered with battery firm Toshiba to supply the batteries for the company’s second generation electric bus. This will enable the company to compete in the market with higher performance and more reliable electric buses. I wonder how other manufacturers will respond and what other announcements are coming.

Let’s take a look now at another opportunity for the American electric bus market – electric school buses. Not long ago Trans Tech introduced the first fully electric school bus in USA. Electric school buses appear to be a new opportunity as last week I noticed that in online media a new approach named vehicle-to-grid was a popular theme. This idea looks at how electric school buses can be a more cost efficient solution than traditional diesel fuelled school buses. Additionally, there were positive discussions about a major initiative supporting electric school buses uptake from Clinton Global Initiative .

China 

60-foot

With growing environmental issues and horrific air pollution in China’s cities, the Chinese government is trying to reduce air pollution and is supporting the uptake of electric buses. Last week, it was announced that 20,000 new energy buses are to be added in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei’s public transport fleet. Obviously, there is great potential for electric bus in China and as demand grows, electric bus manufacturers are also introducing more competitive electric vehicles.

As mentioned earlier BYD, the biggest Chinese electric buses manufacturer, has unveiled the Lancaster eBus,  a 60-foot, articulated battery-electric bus that can drive 170+ miles with a passenger load of up to 120 passengers.

Another manufacturer, Ankai, announced the launch of its fifth generation electric bus in the Chinese market which is the first to be equipped with e-control system. Ankai, has also agreed to supply Beijing Public Transportation Group with its pure electric bus.

Additionally, JAC Automobile Group has co-operated with Kunming Municipal Government to develop new energy buses in Kunming. The two parties agreed on annual volume of 3,000 units of hybrid and full electric (or new energy as they are called by the Chinese government) buses.

Based on what we’ve seen so far..

I think that USA and China are prosperous markets for electric buses, don’t you agree? What other developments have you seen there or in other international markets lately? Let me know on Twitter and Linkedin.