Bus Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)
The bus market registered USD 38.12 billion in 2020 and is projected to be worth USD 58.62 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 7.98% during the forecast period (2021 - 2026).
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted governments and authorities around the globe to impose restrictions on transport and mobility at an unprecedented scale and magnitude. Physical distancing has a significant impact on mobility behavior and preferences. Many people will switch to a transport mode that reduces the risk of infection. People who own a private vehicle will use it increasingly, while those who previously relied on public transport might switch to another mode, such as biking or walking instead. Many cities across the world saw that private cars, walking, and biking have gained the most share since the pandemic began, while bus ridership decline. This has resulted in low demand for the bus market.
Pre-pandemic, Buses are the most preferred mode of public transportation as billions of people use buses for a day-to-day commute across the world. The bus demand has increased significantly in recent years until COVID-19, especially in developing countries, such as India, China, Brazil, and Mexico, owing to the rapid population growth, urbanization, and government initiatives to connect rural areas to cities.
Growing concerns over pollution and rise in stringent emission regulations have encouraged countries to include a greater number of electric buses in the existing bus fleet, thereby contributing to the overall bus market growth.
Some of the major companies that capture a significant market share include Daimler AG, Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Volvo, Traton (Man, Scania etc.), Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, and Alexander Dennis.
Increasing Adoption Of Electric Buses
Fuel constitutes a major part of the operating cost of any vehicle. With the increasing costs of fuel, using an electric bus for public transport not only reduces the fuel cost but also reduces other upfront costs and total cost of ownership. By 2030, the prices for the electric bus are expected to come down to that of diesel fuel buses. Electric buses help reduce 81-83% of the maintenance and operating costs compared to a diesel-engine bus.
Electric buses offer more comfort to travelers compared to gasoline or diesel buses. The NVH levels in electric buses are minimal, unlike traditional diesel buses, providing enhanced comfort to passengers.
Also, the limited vibrations during operation aids in extending the vehicle's life, in turn, reducing maintenance costs, and also offers comfort to passengers.
Currently, the United States is the most promising market in the region, and it is expected to lead the demand for e-bus over the forecast period. There are presently close to 650 electric buses (total 2255 zero-emission buses) running in the United States, and the demand is overtaking the production rate, and federal grants are making it easy for transit operators to acquire new units. Almost every state in the United States has a transit agency that currently owns or planning to own new electric buses to its fleet.
In Canada, government initiatives are helping the growth of the electric bus market. Although Canada is home to electric bus companies, such as Quebec based Lion Electric and Vancouver based Green Power, the adoption rate in the country has been relatively slow. In February 2020, Canada launched North America's first research cluster for researching fuel cell and battery-electric buses. The Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC), along with seven other partners, are contributing USD 4.2 million to support the National Academic Committee on Zero-Emission Buses (NAC-ZEB), along with additional federal funding of USD 551,000. CUTRIC will support research in electric and hydrogen bus modeling and simulation tools, cybersecurity of electric buses, battery, and fuel cell electric bus performance visualization for batteries, motors, powertrain, fuel cell stack optimization, etc.
In 2016, along with Paris, Mexico City was one of the first cities to announce restrictions for diesel ICEs as soon as 2025 under the C40 fossil-fuel-free streets declaration. The country also aims for zero-emission buses from 2025 and zero-emissions in major areas of the cities by 2030, also in accordance with the C40 declaration.
In January 2020, Mexico added 63 electric trolley buses to its public transportation fleet under the Trolebici project, which aims to improve transport and commuting infrastructure in Mexico City with an investment of nearly USD 35million.
The COVID 19 outbreak is expected to restrain the market growth due to the shut down of manufacturing facilities and fall in demand due to public transportation avoidance by passengers.
North America is Expected to Witness the Fastest Growth Rate
The United States electric bus market was valued at USD 120.27 million in 2020, and is expected to register a CAGR of 26.9% during the forecast period.
According to the CALSTART, in 2019, a 37% growth in the United States electric bus fleet compared to the figures in 2018. Many states and cities in the United States are receiving grants for purchasing electric buses. For instance, in 2019, the City of Portland in Maine received a grant for its first 2 electric buses that will start operations from 2021. Similarly, Wichita received a federal grant for the first electric bus in Kansas in 2019. As of 2019, only five states, namely North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Arkansas, did not have any near plans to induct electric buses in their present fleet.
Currently, California has the highest number of zero-emission buses (1016) and over 200 electric buses in use, along with many other backlogged orders.
The adoption of electric buses is expected to save a lot of fuel costs for transit agencies in the country. In Chicago, the research found that 2 electric buses save nearly USD 24000 of annual fuel expenses.
The implementation of stringent emission laws and regulations are expected to fuel the market growth of electric buses in the United States. Many cities in the United States now require a certain fraction of their bus fleet to be electric or hybrid, and they are also pushing the limitations on new IC engine bus tenders. For instance, SEPTA, the transport authority of Philadelphia, is committed to restricting the diesel bus share in its bus fleet to less than 5% by 2021.
The United States is the hardest-hit country by the COVID19 crisis, and the unavailability of the workforce in manufacturing facilities, shutdowns, budget trimming, fear of using public transportation, etc., led to the slowing down of electric bus demand in 2020, and the market is expected to show slow recovery post-2020.
The market for buses is a fragmented one, with the major players holding a significant share of the market due to their developed products and network of various dealers. The major players in the market include Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Xiamen King Long United, Daimler AG, Volvo, Traton (Man, Scania, etc.), Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, etc.
The other players, such as Solaris, Navistar, IC Bus, etc., hold a relatively smaller market share. These companies are in the process of expanding their operations in local and international markets.
The bus market is characterized by mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations between various manufacturers trying to tap into potential markets. Since the market for electric buses is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period, bus manufacturers are investing considerably in R&D and are subsequently ramping up their portfolio to include more electric models.