According to a new market report published by Persistence Market Research “Global Market Study on Electric Bus: Asia Pacific to Witness Highest Growth by 2020”, the global electric bus market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28.0% during 2014 to 2020, to reach an estimated volume sales of 33,854 units by 2020.
The global electric bus market is thriving mainly due to growing environmental concerns of the public and various governments. However, among developing countries, China is the only country taking concrete steps to curb vehicular pollution with the introduction of large number of electric buses. The high cost of electric buses is a key barrier for this industry. However, unstable crude oil prices and increasing focus of transit agencies on minimizing operational costs are expected to lower the impact of the cost factor in the long term. In recent times, certain product launches by companies indicate the increasing level of competition in the industry. The investments of companies and transit agencies are being backed by funding from venture capitalists and governments, which are, in turn, favoring the growth of electric bus market.
There are mainly three categories of electric buses, namely, pure electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric. Pure electric buses use batteries for their operation while hybrid electric buses use conventional fuel and an electric propulsion system. Plug-in hybrid buses have similar functionality as hybrid electric buses. However, hybrid electric buses store energy when the bus decelerates, whereas plug-in hybrid buses require an external plug-in power source for charging. Power generated in hybrid electric buses is used for high-intensity tasks such as accelerating from a standstill. The combustion engine later boosts the vehicle’s movement and also recharges the battery.
The global electric bus market is mainly dominated by hybrid buses. However, the market for the pure electric bus is growing at a fast pace owing to increasing public and government interest in emission-free transportation. China dominated the global electric bus market mainly due to its large population and the clean transportation drive initiated by the government.
Air pollution caused by vehicles has been emerging as a serious concern for governments across the globe. This, in turn, is driving demand for public transport facilities with lower emissions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution causes about 100,000 deaths every year in Europe, reducing life expectancy by an average of one year. Considering the negative impact of pollution on people, governments around the world are working to find solutions to reduce pollution levels. European countries such as France, the U.K., and Germany are emerging as key markets for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
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Electric bus manufacturing is a capital intensive market. Most large automotive companies have not forayed into the market as it is in the nascent phase. Funding from external investors is one of the key reasons for the growth of electric bus market.
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Due to high purchasing costs, developing countries refrain from using electric buses. Also, due to the low level of awareness, public concern about environmental pollution is low in these countries. Developed countries are also reluctant to a certain extent about the incorporation of electric buses due to the absence of any regulatory framework for them.
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