Why vehicle and parts makers are now targeting buses

27th July 2017
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
Why vehicle and parts makers are now targeting buses

The new IDTechEx Research report 'Electric Buses 2018-2038' is about hybrid and pure electric buses, often in many new forms, powering up to be a massive $500bn market.

By Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman, IDTechEx.

Most of the top 15 EV manufacturers in the world make, or will soon make buses, including Tesla. The causes of the growing boom in bus purchases are examined in this report, such as increasing city populations and the legal control of pollution and private car usage.

A detailed 20 year technology roadmap predicts the radical change in most electrical and electronic parts in buses - a huge opportunity for parts suppliers with the old Tier One Supplier system breaking down. Some have gone from ladder chassis to monocoque: learn what comes next. Why are supercapacitors sometimes replacing bus batteries and motors proliferating and changing position and structure? These are things the PhD level, multilingual staff at IDTechEx have studied for 20 years across the world.

Significant developments include reinvention of buses in format and function with small buses gaining favour and seeing the most radical changes first such as autonomy and multi-functionality between car, taxi and bus. At the larger end, the trolleybus and tram often have 'bus' modes using on-board batteries nowadays. Bus Rapid Transit is getting more popular and at least 500,000 school buses are going to be pure electric to prevent pollution deaths and save a lot of money.

The 'Autonomous Rail Transit' (ART) in China has electronically guided rubber tires, not rails, but another 1,000 seater bus will straddles traffic and have considerable solar power from the roof. You can buy a solar bus that never plugs in. The world of buses is changing rapidly now and detailed new infograms and ten year forecasts in Electric Buses 2018-2038 make sense of it all, revealing many gaps in the market for new entrants.

There is a large chapter on China because most of the world's buses are made and used there and this will not change. Indeed, the Chinese have the most ambitious rollout of bus production across the world and the most radical innovations in many cases. The only non-Chinese company left in the top six is rapidly losing market share as newer, more imaginative bus companies gain share rapidly. Non-Chinese companies are showing they can compete despite lacking the economy of scale of the Chinese market: the report explains how, with examples.

In 2050, 80% of people will live in cities so urban buses will be an even more dominant part of the bus market. Cities currently dedicate 10-30% of land area to parking and this has become unsustainable. Buses are a key part of the solution, as the report 'Electric Buses 2018-2038' explains and backs up with chapters on India, including its intended rapid replacement of 150,000 diesel buses, Europe and the Americas for example.

In a world where the bus and its technology are being completely reinvented into a multitude of forms, box-ticking market research by non-technical people is useless. IDTechEx keeps visiting companies and conferences from Poland to Canada and Japan to get the latest situation but there is more than that. Its approach is creative and benchmarks other industries. For instance, in 'Electric Buses 2018-2038' you learn that plug-in pure electric vehicles are not the end game: it is energy independent buses and even energy positive ones. IDTechEx reveals the lessons of the energy positive cars and aircraft out there that will clearly lead to some energy positive buses. A design is proposed leveraging new technologies just about to come onto the market. Only IDTechEx Research has this depth of understanding and ability to reveal new opportunities providing detailed numbers and assessments. It is an essential reference book for everyone intending to participate in the reinvented bus value chain.

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