Global Bus Growth Opportunities
COVID-19 has had a global impact, with governments resorting to national lockdowns and social distancing measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. The result was a large-scale drop in business confidence, consumer demand, and industrial production, leading to a global economic recession in 2020. A large number of workplaces closed indefinitely or implemented remote working arrangements. The concerns over public health and safety reduced travel volumes as well as public transit ridership. However, with vaccination drives underway across the globe, ridership is expected to increase in 2021–22. In developing countries, a majority of the population working in the informal sector is highly dependent on public transport for their daily commute. This is expected to drive the growth of the transit bus segment.
The size of the global bus market in 2020 was ~175,745 units and is expected to grow to ~204,048 units in 2021 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1%.
Zero-emission powertrains in transit buses have gained momentum across Europe and China. The EU Clean Vehicle directive for EU countries will boost electric bus adoption. The extension of subsidies in China till 2022 accelerated the growth of new energy buses in the second half of 2020. Additionally, Chinese electric bus OEMs are rapidly expanding globally, with the establishment of manufacturing and assembly plants, in addition to exports. In Latin America, some countries are developing electro-mobility strategies promoting zero-emission buses in public transportation. Chinese OEMs have also established regional production bases to tap into LATAM. In the coach segment, diesel powertrain is dominant, though natural gas and fuel cells are attractive with the development of fuelling infrastructure.
Though plummeting demand pushed oil prices into the negative territory in 2020, oil prices are set to rise in 2021 and expedite the adoption of alternative powertrains. Traditional OEMs across various regions are expanding their product portfolios to include battery electric and fuel cell buses in the transit segment. The market is witnessing strong collaborations among incumbent automakers, suppliers, and new players striving to enter the market. The relatively low total cost of ownership of electric buses, when compared to diesel buses, and the push for developing charging infrastructure will make electric buses a profitable option from 2024 to 2026.
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