Market analysis: Electric buses in Europe continue to grow - (2023)

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The rise of electric buses in Europe continues, as registration figures for 2021 show. After 2,210 electric buses in 2020, another 3,282 electric buses (each without trolleybuses) were registered in 2021, with manufacturers competing for electric bus share . So who's leading the charge?

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Unlike buses, the regular and intercity bus business continues to do well. "And at a relatively high level", explains Wim Chatrou. The Dutchman analyzes bus sales data for 25 years. As a result, Chatrou CME Solutions documentation is sought after by manufacturers, market watchers and analysts, and Chatrou provides it.electricunique view of the numbers.

For his research, Wim Chatrou accesses the registration data of the authorities in the respective country, for example the RAI Data Center in the Netherlands (DRC) or the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in Germany. "The respective registration numbers also include the manufacturers' deliveries to the respective country," said Chatrou.electric.

Of the 14,990 city buses registered in 2021 in European markets (EU27 expanded to include UK, Iceland, NO, CH), 59.4% are already equipped with alternative powertrains. Visualizing the development of these powertrains from 2012 to 2021, one of Wim Chatrou's charts shows a steady increase in electric, fuel cell, CNG and hybrid buses recently registered since 2017.

  • Market analysis: Electric buses in Europe continue to grow - (2)
  • Market analysis: Electric buses in Europe continue to grow - (3)
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  • Market analysis: Electric buses in Europe continue to grow - (5)
  • Market analysis: Electric buses in Europe continue to grow - (6)

Last year, electric buses surpassed even CNG-powered vehicles. The share of battery electric city buses increased from 14.8 percent in 2020 to 21.7 percent in 2021. The share of natural gas buses (mainly CNG, only a few Irizar/Scania buses with LNG are listed), by other hand, has been significantly reduced. from 17.7 (2020) to 14.8% (2021). In numbers, Chatrou CME Solutions will deploy 3,282 new electric vehicles in 2021, while buses powered by CNG will reach 3,088 units.

Hybrid buses, particularly mild hybrids, continue to make slow progress: registrations increased from 19.7 to 21.8% or 3,285 vehicles. Fuel cell buses, however, have made a significant leap forward; After 47 vehicles in 2020, the statistics for 2021 show a total of 158 newcomers in this segment. After a market share of just 0.3 percent in the previous year, “hydrogen urban buses” in the alternative traction segment will already have a share of 1.1 percent in 2021 with a perspective of 14,990 buses.

The vendor market is only as manageable as its share. Only a few bus manufacturers serve this H2 segment with Caetano, Safra, Solaris, Van Hool and Wrightbus. Two Hyundai Elec City FuelCells also appear in the 2021 statistics. Koreans have passed them in driver-customer tests and are testing their use in transport companies across Europe.

From 2012 to 2021, 259 hydrogen city buses were registered in Europe, the largest supplier in this period was the Belgian manufacturer Van Hool with 96 buses, followed by Wrightbus from Northern Ireland with 71. Solaris from Poland delivered 38 units, the Portuguese manufacturer buses Caetano arrived with 24 buses and Safra with 19. Four Mercedes-Benz and VDL vehicles also arrived, two Hyundai and one Solbus.

In Germany, 33 units were registered in the segment in 2021, as found by Chatrou CME Solutions. The federal government's hydrogen offensive, worth billions, has so far only progressed slowly.

In the high-tech country of hydrogen, Germany, there is a lack of domestic suppliers; Daimler Truck will decide by 2024 whether to use liquid or gaseous hydrogen for its bus division and will offer the corresponding buses. As the battery-electric Citaro series is currently a bestseller, the eCitaro with H2 range extender has been discontinued for the time being. It should be on the market in 2024 at the earliest. In addition, Volkswagen AG is finally reluctant to use hydrogen in the commercial vehicle sector with the German MAN brand in the city bus segment. This also applies to the company's H2 combustion engines, which are currently being developed.

Leading electric bus manufacturers

Even across all alternative units, German brands do not hold the largest market shares in Europe. Mercedes-Benz shines when it comes to new records in Germany. However: Of the 555 newly registered electric buses in Germany in 2021, 251 were eCitaro. The electric bus market has grown from 350 new vehicles in 2020 to over 500 in 2021, with an impressive 45% of all new electric buses in Germany last year taking the lead.

The emergence of regular buses (mostly with alternative units) does not seem to suffer from the pandemic; since 2019, the number has remained at a relatively high level. Alternatives have long outgrown their niche and regular service buses with reciprocating engines are an integral part of manufacturers' portfolios across Europe. In 2020, 8,338 new regular service bus vehicles (urban and interurban segment) with alternative propulsion (hybrid, CNG, electric and fuel cell buses) were registered, in 2021 there were a total of 9,813 vehicles.

As the bus registration numbers for 2021 show, the rise of electric buses continues. Chatrou reports 390 of 3,282 new electric buses for Solaris, taking the Polish brand from Spanish manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) to 11.9% across Europe last year. If you look at the statistics from 2012 to 2021, Solaris is also at the top with 1,132 or 13.3%.

Other reports generally suggest that Chinese brand BYD ranks No. 1 in Europe. This is actually the case when you add the electric buses from other brands built on a BYD electric bus chassis to the company's electric buses. In Great Britain, BYD cooperates with Alexander Dennis. In 2021, the network had 375 electric buses or 11.4%. BYD-branded electric buses accounted for 7.8% or 257 units in 2021.

Looking at the decade documented by Chatrou CME Solutions, from 2012 to 2021, a total of 1,088 electric buses are registered for BYD only and another 803 for ADL with BYD. It is purely a matter of opinion, but in the future we will also have to ask how electric bus chassis from Mercedes-Benz or Volvo Buses should be included in the statistics. If BYD in the UK insists on working with the ADL, the stats must list these vehicles independently.

Yutong is still our BYD

However, it should not be underestimated that the Chinese, like BYD, will still capture a 7.8% market share in 2021. It is even more surprising that they are only in sixth place, behind Yutong. Secretly, Yutong ranked fourth in Europe in 2021 with sales of 303 electric buses. More than 100 vehicles in Denmark and Great Britain show that deals are often done in large numbers.

The Zhengzhou Yutong Group was founded as a joint-stock company in 1993. In the early 2000s, the Chinese were able to bring buses up to international standards with the help of a cooperation agreement with MAN. This quickly improved global sales opportunities. Yutong Europe was founded in Iceland in 2005 and Yutong has been in the UK and Ireland market since 2013.

And since 2019 at the latest, Yutong has reached all over Europe, not only as an exhibitor, but also as a bus manufacturer for European customers. The Chinese have now learned something that wasn't taken for granted for years: they need their own design language. With the U12 electric bus, Yutong demonstrated in Brussels that people in Europe understood that geometric lines drawn with a pencil were more important than free-form painting with a brush.

Even though they are not primarily U12 series vehicles, the Yutong sells just as well in France, Italy and Portugal as it does in Finland and Norway or even Poland. Yutong is not yet active in Germany, but BYD has found its first German customer in Bochum-Gelsenkirchener Strassenbahnen AG, which has 22 Chinese-made electric buses in its fleet as of 2020.

A look at the Chinese market shows how well the company has mastered the electric bus business there. Yutong registered 15,940 new electric buses in China in 2020. BYD has 9,125 electric buses, CRRC third with 5,503 electric buses. However, BYD suffered a severe setback in its home market and saw a significant drop in production last year. As a result, the company sold only 5,772 electric buses in China in 2021.

The reasons for this were, on the one hand, the change in the Chinese government's subsidy policy for the domestic NEV market and the Covid 19 pandemic, which led to the postponement of orders, as BYD explains. At the same time, BYD can also announce a real milestone: the first electric bus was launched in 2012. In January 2022, ten years later, the Chinese manufacturer says it has produced its 70,000th electric bus.

BYD built 70,000 electric buses in ten years

After all, 2.5% of them were traveling in Europe, according to BYD. Despite the drop in production numbers in 2021, BYD wants to continue expanding into electric buses, because the market is not just growing in Europe. Even if the Chinese rely on different strategies here, acting locally has always played a role, as evidenced by cooperation in Britain with Alexander Dennis or the assembly plant in France, which has since closed again.

It's still exciting, because with politically desired hydrogen and new generations of batteries, the intercity and travel segment will also be electrified after city buses. Europe follows a trend that is already emerging in China and the US.

And the German manufacturers? Mercedes-Benz rose to third place in Chatrou CME Solutions statistics ranking for Europe last year, and looking to 2012-2021, the company ranks seventh in Europe with a market share of 6.8% . Is the man? 10th place last year, 12th place and a 2% market share over the ten years covered. Currently, both manufacturers only offer battery-electric city buses.

Last year, MAN introduced a new, fully conventional Overland generation with a diesel engine. From 2023, an efficient hybrid system with automatic start and stop will follow; an electric variant has yet to be announced. At Daimler Truck, no: the road segment is in charge of the Setra brand. An exciting new series has been announced for 2023.

Zero emission bus sales by country

In addition to manufacturers, it's worth looking at individual markets. For the entire decade from 2012 to 2021, the Netherlands dominated the electric bus market with 1,319 vehicles or 15.5% of the total 8,513 electric buses registered to date. Germany is now in second place with 1,228 electric buses and 14.4%, closely followed by Great Britain with 1,150 electric buses and 13.5%. This is followed by France (11.9%), Sweden (7.4%), Poland (7.1%), Norway (5.5%), Italy (4.7%), Spain (3.7% ) and Finland (3.6%). 🇧🇷

However, 2021 brought changes. The European leader in electric buses, the Netherlands, dropped to ninth place with just 152 new electric buses, while Germany took first place with 555 new electric buses or 16.9%. The UK will be second in 2021 with 540 vehicles or 16.5%, followed by France in third with 512 electric buses and 15.6%. The 2021 ranking is completed by Denmark (217/6.6 percent), Poland (215/6.6 percent), Finland (5.8 percent), Sweden (5.8 percent), Italy (5 .4 percent), the Netherlands (4.6 percent). percent) and Spain (3.9 percent).

After ten years of intense market observation and analysis, Wim Chatrou is clear that the electric bus business is still exciting: "In each country, manufacturers are constantly changing places and the top positions in Europe are hotly contested." 🇧🇷 Furthermore, he emphasizes: “The 2021 numbers say nothing about the order backlog or what still has to be delivered in 2022 or beyond”. Here, manufacturers present their order entries for the current year and show how their products are received in the market. The electric bus market will grow if orders and options are communicated accordingly.

Guest author: Rüdiger Schreiber.
Localization and translation: Nora Manthey


What is the market share of electric buses in Europe? ›

It means that 62.5% of city buses registered in Europe is now powered through alternative fuels. Their share is growing from 59% in 2021, but total volume is decreasing, mainly due to a lower volume of hybrid bus registrations (-38.5%). The city bus market has been dramatically decreasing last year (-14%).

What is the market for electric buses? ›

The global electric bus market in terms of revenue was estimated to be worth 112,041 units in 2022 and is poised to reach 671,285 units by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 43.1% from 2022 to 2027.

How many electric buses are there in Europe? ›

As of end 2021, in Europe there are over 8,500 electric buses running (in the definition are included not only battery electric buses but also plugin hybrids, trolleybus IMC and fuel cell buses).

What are the economic benefits of electric buses? ›

Electric Public Transportation

But this investment is offset by savings of up to 70% in other areas: electric buses have lower fuel costs, fewer components, require less maintenance and have a longer life cycle. They may be more expensive at the beginning, but they are far cheaper in the medium and long term.

Why are electric vehicle sales growing in Europe? ›

High income levels among a climate-conscious populace, strong government support for electric vehicle purchases, and extensive public-private build-out of key EV charging infrastructure have been key supportive factors behind Europe's adoption of EVs.

Are electric buses the future? ›

While the future of electric buses is here, there are still significant gaps to overcome for most cities to truly implement a fleet of electric buses. Battery-powered electric buses are cleaner, more efficient, and better for the environment, but that doesn't mean it is an easy switch for most cities.

Who is the largest electric bus manufacturer in world? ›

Yutong, China, Largest EV bus manufacturer in the world.

What are the pros and cons of electric buses? ›

The Pros and Cons of Electric School Buses
  • 1 - The environmental benefit. The biggest single benefit to electric buses is, of course, how environmentally-friendly they are. ...
  • 2 - Better grades. Gas or diesel emissions don't merely harm students physically. ...
  • 3 - Easy "refueling" ...
  • 1 - Range. ...
  • 2 - High Costs.
Nov 18, 2019

Which country has the most electric buses? ›

As of 2016, 156,000 buses are being put into service per year in China. As of the end of 2020, 378,700 electric buses were in operation, accounting for 53.8% of the total amount of buses. Shenzhen (BYD x 16,359 vehicles).

Which country has 99% of the world's electric buses? ›

In this spirit, China had about 99% of the 385,000 electric buses worldwide in 2017, and it added roughly 9,500 new zero-emission buses every five weeks.

How many electric buses are there in the US? ›

According to new data from the Federal Transit Administration, covering 2021, agencies operated 1,548 electric buses. That's about 2.5 percent of the 61,893 buses on roadways, including commuter buses, bus rapid transit and trolley buses.

Which country is largest bus manufacturers in the world? ›

Zhongtong was founded in 1958 and its headquarters are in Liaocheng, China. It's one of China's major bus makers and one of the world's largest bus and coach manufacturers.

Why do we need electric buses? ›

Quiet, comfortable, low and no-emissions buses will not only be more environmentally sustainable than their diesel equivalents, they'll also encourage more people to use public transport instead of private cars, which are the biggest transport polluters.

What is the impact of electric busses? ›

As the electric grid transitions to cleaner sources of power, replacing diesel buses with electric models will not only reduce air pollutants, but will also cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Are electric buses better for the environment? ›

They produce significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than diesel, diesel hybrid and natural gas-powered buses. Replacing all of the country's diesel-powered transit buses with electric buses could eliminate more than 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

What is the future of electric cars in Europe? ›

plans for only electric new vehicles by 2035 'without precedent' After months of negotiations, the European Union reached a political agreement this week to effectively ban new nonelectric cars from 2035 onward.

What is the projected electric vehicle growth in Europe? ›

Revenue in the Electric Vehicles market is projected to reach US$177.30bn in 2023. Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 17.05%, resulting in a projected market volume of US$332.80bn by 2027.

What's happening in Europe with electric cars? ›

BRUSSELS, Feb 14 (Reuters) - The European Parliament on Tuesday formally approved a law to effectively ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the European Union from 2035, aiming to speed up the switch to electric vehicles and combat climate change.

Why are electric buses becoming more popular? ›

The electric buses market provides a number of advantages over diesel-powered buses, including zero carbon emissions. They are also quieter, simpler to maintain, and cost less to run.

What is the disadvantages of electric buses? ›

The two biggest disadvantages are cost and range. Although an electric bus is likely to save money in the long term, the initial purchase price is considerably higher. This difference can be potentially offset with different funding options.

What is the limitation of electric buses? ›

Charging Infrastructure — With any school bus purchase, charging/fueling infrastructure is a major consideration. In addition to increased cost, electric charging infrastructure also must be carefully planned, based on routes and battery range.

Who are the largest electric bus manufacturers in USA? ›

Since 2004, Burlingame, California-based Proterra has sold more than 1,000 electric buses in the U.S. and Canada, making it the largest e-bus manufacturer in North America.

Who makes batteries for electric buses? ›

Thanks to LFP CTP batteries, Solaris' electric buses are expected to offer a higher available payload or range, compared to the standard use of LFP. This type of battery also used by BYD, has also great longevity, safety, and fast charging capabilities.
CategoryBattery Tech Buses
TagsCATL Solaris lfp
May 29, 2022

Who makes electric buses in America? ›

Blue Bird electric buses can carry a maximum of 84 passengers for a range of up to 120 miles on a single charge – they take between three and eight hours to fully recharge depending on the charging infrastructure.

Do electric buses cause pollution? ›

CNG buses are known to release polluting gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides besides Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 and ultrafine particles. Electric buses, on the other hand, have zero emissions when they are in operation as they run on batteries which are charged by electricity.

Do electric buses save money? ›

Lower fuel and maintenance costs mean that the electric fleet can save between $4,000 and $11,000 annually per bus, as reported by CleanTechnica. Forbes puts it another way: “ … school districts are spending just 14 cents per mile on their e-buses compared to 49 cents per mile for diesel buses.”

What is the lifespan of an electric bus? ›

Generally, though, the useful life expectancy of an electric bus is around 12 years, which is about the same life expectancy you can expect with other types of school buses. However, the battery may need to be replaced during that 12-year span.

Who has the best bus system in the world? ›

Hong Kong holds the top spot in the Urban Mobility Readiness Index 2022 as the world's best city for public transport.

How long do electric bus batteries last? ›

For planning purposes, most electric buses with conventional lead-acid batteries will operate between 40 - 80 miles on a single charge.

Who makes electric buses in Europe? ›

Europe Electric Bus Market Competitor Analysis

The European electric bus market is growing and led by a few major players such as Solaris Bus & Coach, IVECO Bus, Traton Group, AB Volvo, Mercedes-Benz Group AG, etc.

Which country has free buses? ›


What percentage of buses in China are electric? ›

Approximately 59.1 percent of city buses and trolleybuses in Chinese cities were powered by pure electricity as of 2021. Over the past six years, China experienced a significant increase in the share of purely electric buses in its fleet, which was only 15.6 percent in 2016.

What is the biggest bus company in the US? ›

Greyhound: the largest bus carrier, serving over 3,800 destinations.

Does Florida have electric buses? ›

The zero-emission buses will replace existing diesel transit buses in Alachua, Broward, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Leon, Marion, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.

Who has the biggest electric bus fleet in North America? ›

Toronto Transit Commission now operates the largest electric bus fleet in North America. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) can now claim the title of operating the largest fleet of electric buses in North America. The plan began in November 2017 when the TTC board ordered their first 30 electric buses.

Who makes buses in USA? ›

Table 2: Top School Bus Manufacturers and Suppliers in the USA by Revenue
CompanyLocationYear Founded
Collins Bus Corp.Hutchinson, KS1986
Thomas Built Buses, Inc.High Point, NC1916
Navistar, Inc.Lisle, IL1965
Creative Bus SalesChino, CA1985
6 more rows

What are the top European bus manufacturers? ›

Mercedes-Benz AG, Iveco Bus, MAN SE, AB Volvo, EvoBus GmbH, etc., are some of the leading players operating in the European Bus Market. Apart from these companies, other bus manufacturers are also increasing their brand awareness, price schemes and product portfolio in the region to increase their customer base.

Which company makes the best bus? ›

Best 6 Bus Manufacturers in India
  • Tata Motors - Marcopolo. The Tata Marcopolo Motors Limited is a joint venture manufacturing a range of buses in India that are used as local passenger transport in many Indian cities. ...
  • Ashok Leyland. ...
  • Eicher Motors. ...
  • BharatBenz. ...
  • Volvo Buses. ...
  • Mahindra & Mahindra.

How are electric buses more sustainable? ›

Electric buses are much more environmentally friendly than traditional diesel buses. They produce no tailpipe emissions, which means that they do not contribute to air pollution. This is especially important in a city like Singapore, where the population is concentrated in a small area.

Why are electric buses sustainable? ›

Other than greenhouse gases, electric buses also generate fewer emissions of other pollutants. They're also quieter, creating a more comfortable urban environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

What are the benefits of electric transportation? ›

Advantages of Electric Vehicles
  • No fuel required so you save money on gas. Paying $0.10 per kW is the equivalent of driving on gasoline that costs less than $1 per gallon. ...
  • Environmental friendly as they do not emit pollutants. ...
  • Lower maintenance due to an efficient electric motor. ...
  • Better Performance.

How do buses affect the environment positively? ›

Less Pollution and Clearer Skies

Every vehicle on the road releases an average of one pound of CO2 per mile driven. Compared with driving alone, taking public transportation reduces CO2 emissions by 45%, decreasing pollutants in the atmosphere and improving air quality.

What percentage of UK buses are electric? ›

There are 3,854 hybrid buses, 785 battery electric buses, and 22 hydrogen fuel cell buses operating in London, as of March 2022, out of a total bus fleet of 8,795 - this is around 53% of the bus fleet.

Who has the most electric buses in the world? ›

Most of the public transport fleets, especially in China, which accounts for almost 99% of the market have electric buses that are 9-14 m in length.

What percent of US buses are electric? ›

According to new data from the Federal Transit Administration, covering 2021, agencies operated 1,548 electric buses. That's about 2.5 percent of the 61,893 buses on roadways, including commuter buses, bus rapid transit and trolley buses.

Who has the largest electric bus fleet in the US? ›

Montgomery County Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in the US, has deployed the single largest electric school bus fleet in the country.

Are electric buses zero-emission? ›

They are not completely zero emissions vehicles, because they do use an internal combustion engine to charge their storage batteries, but they are significantly more efficient, clean, and quiet than traditional internal combustion engine buses.

Who is making electric buses? ›

A new Proterra-powered electric transit bus is set to hit the roads in 2023. Proterra announced a new partnership with Eldorado National California (ENC) for the next generation of electric transit buses. California-based Proterra plans to play a critical role in transitioning the transportation industry to electric.

Are buses better than electric cars? ›

Electric vehicles produce zero emissions, so they're much better for the environment than public transport options like buses and trains. If you aim to curb your carbon footprint, an EV is the way.

What city has the most electric buses? ›

Shenzhen demonstrates a clear example where both elements are present. The city is home to the world's first and largest fully electric bus and taxi fleets, with its urban transit fleet of 16,359 buses today 100% electrified.


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