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Navigant Research: sales of plug-in electric buses increased 40% from 2016 to 2017

According to a new report from Navigant Research, sales for plug-in electric buses increased 40% from 2016 to 2017, as the technology on offer from bus companies has improved in performance and in price.

The report, Market Data: Electric Drive Buses, analyzes the global market for medium and heavy duty electric drive buses with the following powertrains: gasoline hybrid, gasoline plug-in hybrid, diesel hybrid, diesel plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cells.

Highlights of the report include:

  • The market for new buses represents approximately 17% of the overall sales of new commercial vehicles.

  • Global bus sales are expected to grow from just more than 800,000 in 2017 to more than 1 million in 2027.

  • In 2017, the conventional diesel powertrain is expected to account for about 58% of total bus sales; by 2027, this is forecast to fall to about 51%. The difference is made up by the stronger sales growth expected in all alternative fuel buses.

  • Electric (including all types of hybrid) powertrain buses are expected to grow from about 21% of the total bus market in 2017 to about 22% in 2027 as the overall market grows at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.9%.

Despite increasing sales of electric buses, conventional engines will continue to be the powertrain of choice for buses in many markets during the next 10 years, according to the report. The upfront cost for an electric drive bus continues to be an issue; thus, adoption tends to be focused in regions with government support. In all regions except for China, hybrid buses are expected to continue to capture greater market share than plug-in buses in the near-term, thanks to the lower price premium, lack of infrastructure investment, and the wealth of real-world operational experience.



Hybrid city buses could be a good interim solution, for safer operations in our cold snowy months, at least until 2X to 4X batteries are available at a lower price.

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