You are on page 1of 17

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs?

Publisher:
automotive World ltd
1-3 Washington buildings Published: March 2015
stanwell road, Penarth,
cF64 2ad, uK
www.automotiveworld.com
coPyright stateMent
t: +44 (0) 2920 707 021
info@automotiveworld.com
© 2015 all content copyright automotive World ltd. all rights reserved.
Registered number: 04242884
VAT number: gb 815 2201 this publication - in whole or in part - may not be shared, copied, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or be transmitted in any form by
any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of automotive World ltd.
Chief Executive:
gareth davies
Editor: disclaiMer
Martin Kahl
this report is the product of extensive primary and secondary research. it is protected by copyright under the copyright, designs and Patents
Business Editor:
act 1988.
Megan lampinen
Analysts: the authors of automotive World ltd research reports are drawn from a wide range of professional and academic disciplines. the facts
david isaiah, rachel boagey within this report are believed to be correct at the time of publication but cannot be guaranteed. the information within this study has been
reasonably verified to the author’s and publisher’s ability, but neither accept responsibility for loss arising from decisions based on this report.
Staff Writers:
Michael nash, Freddie holmes
this report contains forward-looking statements that reflect the authors’ current views with respect to future events. such statements are
Chief Technology Officer: subject to risks and uncertainties. if any of the assumptions underlying any of these statements prove incorrect, then actual results may be
Michael Franklin materially different from those expressed or implied by such statements. the authors do not intend or assume any obligation to update any
forward-looking statement, which speaks only as of the date on which it is made.
Production Assistant:
anmol Mothy
all the estimates are based on assumptions, the authors’ calculations and publicly available data. automotive World ltd is not liable for
misrepresentation or misuse of such information or validity of publicly available information.
© automotive World ltd 2015
Table of contents

Contents
Executive summary 1
Introduction: Time to catch the e-bus 2

Setting the scene 3


Why e-buses? 3
Barriers to adoption 3
Criteria for adoption? 4

Market overview 5

E-bus benefits - A closer look 7


Case study: MASP, Milton Keynes, UK 8
Case study: City of Seneca, South Carolina, USA 9

Where in the world are e-buses best suited? 10


Where will e-bus adoption really occur? 12
Where next? 14

Companies and organisations we spoke to for this report:

• BYD - isbrand ho, Managing director, byd europe


• Volvo Bus - ralph acs, senior Vice President, business region americas; Jessica sandstrom, environmental director
• Proterra - ryan Popple, chief executive
• Ricardo - clive Wotton, President
• Global Policy Group - ian graig, chief executive
• Frost & Sullivan - chandramowli Kailasam, industry analyst - global commercial Vehicles team
• IDTechEx - dr Peter harrop, chairman
• Lindholmen Science Park - niklas Wahlberg, chief executive

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com iii


Executive summary

Executive summary

• the case for diesel-engined buses is becoming less and less convincing in • china is currently the world’s biggest e-bus market...
urban environments where noise, emissions and congestion need to be
controlled • ...but europe and the us are expected to see considerable growth in e-bus
adoption as tighter emissions and fuel economy regulations come into effect
• Zero tailpipe emissions, silent running and low total cost of operation make around 2020
e-buses a highly attractive proposition...
• chinese oeMs are expected to go on the offensive in gaining a foothold in
• ...but they require a high up-front investment in product and infrastructure emerging markets, and in latin america in particular, where european oeMs
currently dominate
• transit buses’ high mileage helps shorten the payback on e-bus investment
• e-buses are significantly more efficient than diesel and other bus powertrain
• electric buses (‘e-buses’) are perhaps the best application of electric vehicle technologies. an e-bus can deliver 20+ mpge, compared to the average mpg
(eV) technology; fixed routes with dedicated bus lanes offer the right of a diesel transit bus, of around 2.8-5.0 mpg
environment to establish charging infrastructure, and enable fleet operators
to define exact vehicle requirements • e-buses help fleets to score highly in terms of corporate social responsibility
(csr)
• Proponents of e-buses say there is no minimum fleet size threshold – a fleet
of one can benefit from switching to e-buses

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 1


Introduction: Time to catch the e-bus

Introduction: Time to catch the e-bus

bus manufacturers and suppliers are investigating the use of alternative three of the most active e-bus manufacturers currently are byd, Proterra and
powertrains and alternative fuels to meet future emissions and fuel consumption Volvo buses. diesel technology alone is widely regarded as insufficient for
regulations. natural gas (cng, lng), fuel cell vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids meeting future regulations, and other major bus manufacturers are advancing
and battery electric solutions are all being explored. their developments across the variety of propulsion technologies listed above.

significantly lower operating costs than diesel buses, coupled with zero this report addresses the key issues surrounding the arguments for and against
emissions and near-silent running make e-buses an attractive solution. fully electric buses (‘e-buses’), which use energy from a plug-in source or
recaptured from regenerative braking, with no internal combustion engine (ice)
With bus transit delivering the lowest cost per passenger, and electric vehicles assistance.
delivering the lowest co2 per passenger per mile, proponents of fully electric
buses (‘e-buses’) argue that e-buses are the mode of urban transportation that We consider the reasons for e-bus adoption; we ask stakeholders where they
offers the lowest cost and environmental impact. think e-bus technology is best suited - and where, in the near-term, they think
e-buses will really be adopted.

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 2


Setting the scene

Setting the scene


Why e-buses?
"Why electric buses? The real question is “Why not?"
- Isbrand Ho, Managing Director, BYD Europe

the list of benefits of e-buses is compelling;

• Zero emissions, silent running: these factors are of increasing interest to


fleet operators as air pollution and city centre noise restrictions become
globally prevalent issues
• the growing number of cities implementing low emission zones (LEZ)
and ultra-low emissions zones (ULEZ) will require transit solutions that
can operate in electric mode
• Significantly lower operating cost (up to 75%) than diesel internal
combustion engines (ice), with associated lower total cost of ownership
(tco) despite higher up-front purchase price
• Reduced maintenance costs: e-buses facilitate digital maintenance
monitoring; and fewer components mean cheaper maintenance costs
• E-buses are the most viable application of EV technology since they run
on carefully scheduled routes; properly planned routes can address charge
point locations, cutting range anxiety. battery technology has already advanced Barriers to adoption
to the point where a bus could be in use for a full day on a single charge
• Regenerative braking: eV technology recaptures more braking event despite the multitude of potential benefits, however, there are some
energy than any other powertrain technology – and buses stop and start up considerable and formidable barriers to e-bus adoption:
to 500 times a day
• Greater efficiency than diesel and other technology: an electric bus can Cost barrier
deliver 20+ mpge, compared to the average mpg of a diesel transit bus, of
around 2.8-5.0 mpg. cng buses are less efficient than diesel; the abundance • High up-front purchase price and long return on investment (ROI)
of natural gas in the us lies behind the success of cng buses in that country period: recovering the up-front price of the bus can take six to eight years
– however, electric buses use energy more efficiently than cng equivalents before government subsidies (Frost & sullivan), although the cost of a lithium-
due to cng’s ice conversion losses ion battery pack for an e-bus can be paid back in two to six years of service
• e-buses help fleets to score highly in terms of corporate social (Proterra). in terms of financial investment, roi of three years is the usual
responsibility (CSR) requirement for new technology investment (navigant). however, when other

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 3


Setting the scene

additional factors are considered, such as the need to meet noise and co2
emissions and leZ / uleZ requirements, a longer roi may be considered
• High battery cost, short battery life: battery life is currently half of the
average bus life, so at least one battery replacement would be required during
the life of an e-bus

Charging problems

• Limited charging infrastructure (a universal problem) and associated


range anxiety: alternative fuel or powertrain of any kind requires an up-front Source: Proterra
investment, and transit systems may already have invested in infrastructure
to support other powertrain technology; furthermore, infrastructure-related
issues include dependence on end-of-route charging in the (current) absence
Criteria for adoption?
of sufficient en-route charging points, and the (slowly declining) need to
charge throughout the day, at varying electricity tariffs What, then, are the criteria for adoption? We asked respondents whether there
• Lengthy charging time is an issue, but various oeMs, suppliers and might be, for example, a minimum fleet size. the general consensus was that
municipalities are working on rapid charging and wireless charging while the case for e-bus investment hinges on a number of factors, there is no
technology (see MasP case study on page 8) fleet size threshold - a fleet of one can benefit from e-bus investment.
• the need for continuous availability of electricity for on-demand battery
charging currently means a limited potential for e-buses in many emerging it is crucial to assess the fleet’s use case, emphasises Jessica sandstrom,
markets environmental director at Volvo bus: “daily utilisation time is important: for every
• large vehicles require large – and thus heavy – battery packs. Battery kilometre you drive, you gain money back on your investments compared to running
weight and reduced load space have been concerns, although as battery the vehicle on diesel or gas [cng]. optimum operation of a fully electric bus is when
technology improves, and packs get lighter and smaller, these concerns will the average speed is not too high, the driving distance between end stops is not too
fade great and the route is relatively flat. the trick is to find the best match between
operating conditions, number of batteries in the bus and passenger capacity.”
Other barriers
Skipping a generation
• Training of drivers and maintenance workers: this additional
disproportionate cost is unattractive to fleets where the number of e-buses in Just as emerging markets are skipping landlines and central power plants in
the fleet is low in relation to other powertrain types favour of cell phones and distributed generation, e-buses enable fleet operators
• Current relatively low cost of diesel and natural gas makes it difficult for to skip old powertrain technology and go directly to zero emissions technology.
transit systems to justify the expense of fully electric buses; furthermore,
fluctuating fuel prices make it difficult to project medium and long term fleet this is a point upon which Proterra’s chief executive, ryan Popple, and Volvo’s
operating costs sandstrom agree. “some developed cities are looking at improving the
environment and the public transport experience for their citizens,” says
sandstrom, “but there are also developing cities which are looking at leapfrogging
the development to bypass euro V and euro Vi and go directly for electro-mobility.”

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 4


Market overview

Market overview
China, it is widely agreed, will continue to be the biggest market for some years “among european nations, the uK and France have been the most aggressive
to come. “china has been the most aggressive in terms of stimulus packages, by creating favourable support environments,” says Kailasam. “the uK pledged
and it has put electrification ahead of hybridisation with its latest policy decision,” close to £87m (us$129m) towards clean energy buses between 2011-14, and
says chandramowli Kailasam, industry analyst - global commercial Vehicles this is expected to increase and benefit e-buses from 2015. France has an
team at Frost & sullivan. “hybrid buses will be excluded from the us$81,000 incentive programme of €10,000-€15,000 depending upon the size of e-bus.”
subsidy, whereas e-buses and fuel-cell buses will continue to benefit. china
features the most competitively priced e-buses, and prices for both conventional Japan’s oeMs have been surprisingly quiet in terms of e-buses. in February
and alternative powertrain-propelled transit buses are one to two times costlier 2015, byd delivered five electric buses to Kyotokyukou bus, a transit operator
in the triad markets.” in Kyoto and one of the biggest transit fleets in Japan. in doing so, it became the
first chinese oeM to penetrate the Japanese market. the order was for five
long-range byd c9 electric buses; the byd c9 can travel over 190 miles
(306km) in 100% electric mode before needing to stop to recharge.

Europe is expected to be one of the markets that will see a considerable


increase in the adoption of e-buses, due to emissions and fuel economy
regulations, as well as an increased awareness of energy efficiency and
In February 2015, BYD became the first Chinese OEM to penetrate the Japanese market when it delivered 5
pollution levels.
e-buses to Kyotokyukou Bus

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 5


Market overview

commenting on byd’s entry into Japan, beatrix Frisch, a berlin-based pressure to reduce vehicle emissions, and the Federal transit administration can
automotive industry consultant who specialises in the chinese automotive help local transit systems acquire alternative fuel vehicles to reduce their
industry, told Automotive World: “it is very good for byd to have a reference emissions,” says ian graig, chief executive of Washington, dc-based global
from the very tech knowledgeable and savvy Japan. the deal is testament to Policy group. “the us government’s clean cities and congestion Mitigation and
byd’s electric bus, and evidence that it is a reliable model. the new relationship air Quality improvement programs and its tigger grants have also helped
is a big compliment to byd and the chinese electric vehicle industry.” localities acquire alternative fuel vehicles for their fleets, in part by reducing the
incremental cost of acquiring such vehicles or related infrastructure.”
as far as Japan’s e-bus potential is concerned, Frost’s Kailasam is optimistic
about the period 2015-2020, which he believes will be “critical, as clean according to american Public transit association (aPta) data, over 40% of
environment measures will gain greater momentum due to public awareness.” buses operated by public transit systems in 2013 were powered by alternative
fuels. aPta data also reveals that just 13.2% of transit buses were electric or
in the US, federal grants of about us$2.4bn exist for the development of eVs and hybrid-electric in 2013, and the majority of these were hybrids rather than fully
us$115m for charging infrastructure. however, this is yet to result in any notable electric. Public transit systems may be important users of alternative fuel buses,
uptake of e-buses in north america. “Many public transit systems are under but natural gas, hybrid, and biodiesel buses prevail.

US FTA LoNo Program - e-bus commitments

on 5 February 2015, the Federal transit administration announced projects selected for Fiscal year 2013 and Fiscal year 2014 funding under the low and no
emission Vehicle deployment Program. the total of all the projects is us$54,469,249.00. detailed below are the e-bus commitments, worth us$33,149,584.00.
this list has been extracted from the longer lono Program list, which can be found on the Fta website: http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants/15926_16268.html

Stockton, CA San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) Funding to purchase 5 Proterra battery-electric buses and a charging station $4,702,011.00

Lextran, Transit Authority of the Lexington Fayette Funding to purchase 5 Proterra battery-electric buses, 1 charging station and 1 maintenance area charging system. The
Lexington, KY $6,003,534.00
Urban County Government zero-emission buses will replace 5 diesel buses that are at the end of their useful life

Louisville, KY Transit Authority of River City (TARC) Funding to deploy 5 Proterra battery-electric buses and 1 fast charging station $3,321,250.00

Worcester, MA Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) Funding to purchase and install 1 Proterra charging station $1,002,600.00

Funding to develop and deploy 5 New Flyer 60-foot articulated battery-electric buses on the MBTA Silver Line Bus Rapid
Boston, MA Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) $4,139,188.00
Transit System

Funding to purchase and deploy 6 Proterra Fast Charge Electric buses, two charging stations and 1 maintenance facility
Duluth, MN The Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) $6,343,890.00
charger

Dallas, TX Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority (DART) Funding to purchase and operate 7 all-electric Proterra buses $7,637,111.00

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 6


E-Bus benefits - A closer look

E-bus benefits - A closer look


Zero emissions, silent running: quiet, zero-emissions buses can be operated
in residential areas without disturbing the people who live there. this enables
city planners to rethink public transport and city design.

Energy efficiency: as noted elsewhere in this report, the best application of


eV technology is in urban transit buses; buses stop frequently – up to 500 times
a day – and can capture energy through regenerative braking.

e-buses use energy much more efficiently than other forms of propulsion. Volvo’s
sandstrom explains: “We have studied what happens if, instead of putting gas
[cng] directly into the engine, we convert it into electricity and propel an electric
bus with this energy. the result is that even if we take all the losses for the
conversion into account, you can still drive three electric buses on the same
energy as one gas [cng] bus.”

Cost: according to Proterra’s Popple, at us$700 / kWh, an eV in transit beats


diesel, hybrid and cng buses in terms of running costs. diesel and cng
engines and hybrids cost us$1.00 - us$1.50 per mile to maintain, says Popple,
adding that eV technology costs less than half that to maintain.

the oeM says the investment case for e-buses makes financial sense even
without subsidies. the payback is provided by offsetting hundreds of thousands an instant and considerable tco saving can be made by switching to e-buses,
of dollars in lifetime fuel costs, and lower cost maintenance. transit buses’ high says Frost’s Kailasam: “Fuel is the single highest cost contributor and accounts
mileage helps shorten the payback on investment. for 30-35% of tco. by switching to pure electric buses, fleets can save 60-75%
on fuel costs compared to a conventional diesel bus.” however, Kailasam
isbrand ho says that in byd trials conducted in over 42 major european cities, disagress with Popple on the business case without subsidies: “at the current
fleets found the operating cost of an e-bus to be up to 75% less than diesel battery cost level, a battery replacement will account for close to half of the bus
vehicles, “thus delivering a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership price. Without governments’ financial support, e-buses are unaffordable despite
even though the initial purchase price may be slightly higher.” the long term operational cost and environmental benefits.”

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 7


E-Bus benefits - A closer look

according to Frost’s Kailasam, the maximum range per charge, with full
passenger capacity, full use of air-conditioning and other critical systems in the
bus, is currently between 80-100km against an average daily trip distance
requirement of at least 120km. average charging time is also 6 hours, unless fast
charging stations are available.

Proterra may have a solution: “eV buses are compatible with passenger car eV
infrastructure,” says Popple. “you can charge a Proterra vehicle with an automatic
overhead fast charger, or just plug it into a charge station that is the same plug
profile as the 25,000+ eV chargers already deployed.”

Case study: MASP, Milton Keynes, UK


January 2014 saw the start of a five-year e-bus trial in Milton Keynes in the uK,
The Trolleybus Optimisation du Système d'Alimentation (TOSA) demonstrator, which consists of an which has been designed to assess the buses’ technical and commercial viability
articulated bus, a flash charging station and a terminal station, has been in operation since May 2013 versus diesel equivalents.
between Geneva Airport and the PALEXPO exhibition centre. Operated by Geneva's tpg, it uses flash
charging technology supplied by ABB Planned and managed by MbK
arup sustainable Projects
(MasP), a joint venture between
Infrastructure: We noted greater concern among the consultants than the
Mitsui and arup, the eight electric
oeMs when it came to the issue of charging infrastructure limitations. Wrightbus buses will run 17 hours
a day, seven days a week, with
global Policy group's ian graig points out the constant cost pressures on us each bus covering over 56,000
public transit systems, not only on vehicles but also on infrastructure. some us miles (90,123 km) annually.
transit systems already have invested in natural gas fuelling infrastructure,
making it difficult to justify the up-front investment required to then also support specific to this trial will be
electric buses. Furthermore, he says, us systems almost always have to rely on wireless charging technology,
end-of-route charging, since they have little control over bus stops and thus which will deliver sufficient power
cannot use rapid-charging systems at those stops. he also notes the need to be in a 10 minute charge to replenish
two-thirds of the energy
able to charge buses throughout the day, even at times of high peak and high
consumed on its 15-mile route.
cost electricity use.
according to arup, the arriva-
“While electrics have lower fuel costs, the decline in diesel and natural gas operated e-buses will remove
prices in the us has eroded that advantage as well,” says graig. “electric bus approximately 5t of particulates
prices are coming down, and would come down further if prices for batteries and noxious tailpipe emissions
and electric drive systems can be further reduced, but they are still more from the streets of Milton Keynes
expensive than even non-diesel alternatives like natural gas or hybrid buses.” each year, and approximately 270 Source: Arup MASP
tonnes of co2 per year.

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 8


E-Bus benefits - A closer look

Case study: City of Seneca, South Carolina, USA


in March 2015, the city of seneca in south carolina, declared itself the first city to
convert its entire bus fleet to zero-emission, battery electric buses.

the buses have been in use


since september 2014, but the
official announcement was
delayed until March 2015 in
order for the city to first
successfully complete 100,000
miles with the buses.

the six 35-foot, fast charge


battery electric buses replaced
and byd believes it is already able to overcome much of the range concern the fleet’s conventional diesel
with its own single-charge vehicle range: “the byd e-bus family already can fuelled transit buses; provided by Proterra, the e-buses are operated by clemson
offer a range longer than that of any comparable vehicle - up to 250km in typical area transit (catbus). they have a range of 35 miles on a single charge, and
return a reported 19mpge.
urban conditions - and byd is committed to continuously improving its battery
technology with even higher energy density chemistries. When combined with the city of seneca was the recipient of one of 46 awards under the Federal transit
the latest fast charging facilities – equipment also supplied by byd – virtually all administration (Fta) tigger (transit investments in greenhouse gas and energy
operating routes can be accommodated, with the vast majority of city bus reduction) program; seneca secured approximately us$4.1m, which it invested in
applications being possible on a single daily charge, allowing recharging at night the acquisition of its e-buses.
to enjoy low electricity rates.”
seneca is an interesting example of e-bus adoption; the catbus is a fare-free
Volvo believes in an open standard for charging, to increase accessibility to service, facilitated through federal, state, and local partnerships. by switching to e-
charge points and charging infrastructure. “We have developed partnerships buses, the company immediately saved money on fuel and maintenance, its key
with abb and siemens to supply infrastructure, and we hope that our stated aim; a second priority was to reduce the service’s environmental footprint.
competitors will get on board and utilise the same technology,” says sandstrom.
the city claims the decision to switch to e-buses will result in a saving of 135,600
“it’s important that the customers who buy an electrified bus system with litres of fuel annually; in addition, it has eliminated certain routine maintenance
charging stations are not locked in to only one supplier. Moreover, we will tasks like oil changes, and cut more than 226,800 kg of emissions associated with
continue to work together with cities to support them in the transition from diesel buses.
traditional public transport.”
according to the center for transportation and the environment (cte), “deploying
as well as fast-charging, embedded wireless charging technology is being zero-emission all-electric buses provides a unique opportunity for Fta to
developed – see MasP case study on page 8. demonstrate the viability of these technologies to reduce energy consumption and
emissions and to establish the nation’s first transit system with no carbon footprint.”

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 9


Where in the world are e-buses best suited?

Where in the world are e-buses best suited?


defining operating conditions – including a well-established corporate reason for byd europe. byd, the shenzhen, china-based company which is backed by
running an e-bus fleet – is the key to a successful e-bus investment. however, Warren buffett’s berkshire hathaway, has a product portfolio that includes not
we heard broadly similar views from all respondents on the issue of where e- just e-buses and electric cars, but also batteries and charging infrastructure
buses are best suited: technology. “there are large numbers of e-buses in service in china, since the
government there has incentivised operators to introduce them to overcome air
• e-buses are suitable for use anywhere urban, especially where co2 and pollution issues,” he tells us, “but the same factors are prevalent in so-called
noise pollution are a problem developed markets where cities face very similar challenges. there is
• stable grid performance is required to support charging, ideally using clean tremendous interest around the world in adopting the electrification of buses to
or sustainable energy address those same issues.”
• china is the largest market for e-buses, and will remain so for many years to
come, due to government incentives which favour electric and fuel cell buses, to support its expected growth in the eV space, byd is investing in a tripling of
but exclude hybrid buses its battery production capacity. in March 2015, it announced that it will add 6
• emerging markets are likely to leapfrog euro V and euro Vi technology and gigawatt hours of global battery production each year for the next three years,
go straight for e-bus technology and anticipates further growth in the years that follow.
• chinese e-bus manufacturers are expected to target emerging markets,
especially latin america
• eu and us are likely to see a surge in e-bus adoption to meet forthcoming
emissions, fuel economy and noise regulations
• cultural differences mean that market penetration in north america - where
private transportation far outweighs public transportation - will be lower than
in developing countries, or cities in europe and other regions with well-
developed public transportation

defining operating conditions is the key to a successful e-bus investment, says


Volvo’s sandstrom: “i would not say that there is a geographic preference - it’s
much more about the operating conditions. i see an interest from all around the
globe when it comes to electro-mobility.”

challenges faced by cities around the world are similar, and byd's isbrand ho
also notes global interest in e-bus technology. ho is the Managing director of BYD K9

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 10


Where in the world are e-buses best suited?

BYD e-buses operational in China and Europe


China Europe (41 cities, including);

Units in operation
City Country City
(as of end-2014)
shenzhen 780 denmark copenhagen
changsha 60 israel tel-aviv
Xi’an 50 italy Milan
shaoguan 5 the netherlands amsterdam (schipol airport); schiermonnikoog
nanjing 650 Poland Warsaw
spain barcelona
uK london

as an e-bus supplier, Proterra’s Popple can be expected to be enthusiastic about


e-bus potential – and he is: “eV buses are suited to areas that are experiencing
urban population growth, areas that are heavily polluted or congested, or areas
that are relatively clean and want to maintain that cleanliness. the Mayor of
Paris has said he wants to remove all diesel pollution from the urban core in
five years. eV is the way to do that.” e-buses, he adds, are suitable for “leading
cities, universities, hospitals, military bases, national parks, airport shuttles… it
is a huge addressable market.”

Proterra has been selected to provide a shared total of 28 battery-electric buses,


as well as seven fast-charge stations to several states across the us as part of
the department of transportation’s (dot) low or no emission Vehicle
deployment Program (lono) - see table on page 6 for details.

byd’s ho agrees with Popple’s view that e-buses are suited to almost anywhere.
“the drivers for adoption of electric buses are the need to enhance air quality
and to reduce operating costs – two major elements applicable to virtually every
major metropolis in the world. the byd e-bus has been successfully trialled on
every continent in a range of extreme climatic conditions, from winter in northern
europe to summer in israel and southern china with continuous air conditioning
usage. topographical differences have been overcome where cities with long
uphill climbs can be compensated with long downhill runs, thanks to energy
recovery during deceleration and braking.”

BYD e-bus in London

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 11


Where will e-bus adoption really occur?

Where will e-bus adoption really occur?


Forthcoming heavy-duty co2, ghg and fuel consumption rules in the us, the electricity project, which launches in gothenburg in mid-2015, is a
europe and other major bus markets, as well as leZ restrictions in many of the sustainable transport initiative supported by Volvo group, in cooperation with
world's major cities, should help drive new interest in alternative fuel and the swedish energy agency, the city of gothenburg, Västtrafik, lindholmen
alternative powertrain transit buses. science Park and Johanneberg science Park; Volvo will supply electric buses
to the programme. e-buses will enjoy the strongest take-up where global
having discussed where e-buses are best suited, we asked executives to warming and the potential for liveable cities is on the political agenda, says
indicate where they think e-bus adoption will really occur. niklas Wahlberg, chief executive of lindholmen science Park. there are some
restrictions, however: a stable power grid is required, something which is not
this is difficult to predict, says ho of byd. “china is currently the biggest electric available everywhere. and e-bus networks work best when collaboration is
bus adopter, thanks to subsidies from the chinese government which is working possible across a number of stakeholders – this is something that varies
hard to improve the environment. Public transport operators and the general considerably from region to region globally.
public alike are the direct beneficiaries of these policies which byd hopes to
see adopted gradually across the world. Fast take-up will occur next in eu Key potential markets
nations, owing to many new initiatives and legislative changes supporting green,
namely pure electric, vehicles.” Frost & sullivan has identified the following key potential markets for e-buses:

• China: china currently leads the e-bus market. however, the other big bus
markets in the asean region, including india, are expected to warm to e-
buses from 2020. the chinese government’s ambition to place china at the
forefront of electric mobility technology has resulted in heavy subsidies for
eVs and by 2020, the annual market share for e-buses in china is expected
to reach about 15% of transit bus total sales.
• Latin America: the bus rapid transit (brt) base in latin america presents
a huge market potential, as fixed routes with dedicated bus lanes offer the
right environment to establish charging infrastructure, especially over-head or
on-road inductive charging technology. brazil, Mexico, and uruguay are likely
to be the biggest markets in latin america. chinese oeMs are expected to
go on the offensive in gaining a foothold in latin america, which is currently
dominated by european oeMs.
The ElectriCity sustainable transport initiative launches in Gothenburg in mid-2015, using Volvo e-buses

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 12


Where will e-bus adoption really occur?

The fixed routes and dedicated bus lanes of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems offer
the right environment to establish charging infrastructure, especially over-head or
on-road inductive charging technology. Pictured: BRT system in Istanbul

• TRIAD – Europe: Market penetration of e-buses will be highest in the triad


market (europe, north america and Japan). among the triad markets,
europe will be the biggest e-bus market and is expected to grow at a cagr
of 45% between 2015 and 2020, and could account for about 8-10% of total
transit bus sales. regulations on emissions and noise will be a norm in major
european cities.
• TRIAD – North America: north america is expected to make huge strides
in adopting e-buses. canada will be the fastest growing market in north
america. the ‘buy america’ policy, which calls for transportation infrastructure
projects to be built with american-made products, is likely to be significant in
the decision-making process at transit agencies in the us.

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 13


Where next?

Where next?
The end is nigh for diesel-powered buses, but which
technology will prevail?
ryan Popple of Proterra is convinced that the future of urban bus transportation
lies in eV technology: “this sector will be 100% eV. We’ll look back and view the
urban diesel bus as the equivalent of a coal boiler in every home, or oil-burning
street lamps.”

although it strongly believes the future lies in the form of pure electric
powertrains, Volvo buses is not yet ready to rely entirely on one segment. “We
will not put all our eggs into one basket,” states ralph acs, senior Vice President,
business region americas, Volvo buses. “there is still a need for a broad range
of powertrain solutions, because not everyone is at the stage where they can
adopt pure electric yet. When the world transitions and the centre of gravity pulls OEMs, suppliers and fleets are working on rapid charging technology to enable en-route charging
to electro-mobility, then we will start to back off from other powertrains.”
load factor, so they need good battery capacity but fast recharge times. “that’s
Peter harrop, chairman of market research and consulting company, idtechex, why there’s consideration of combinations of super-capacitors, plus batteries,
says that although fuel cell technology is suited to bus applications, the plus other ways of actually getting power into buses at the same time,” he
equations do not stack up in favour of fuel cells. in addition to the need for large explains. “clearly it’s even extended to flywheel-powered buses or range
batteries or supercapacitors to support the fuel cell, capture energy from extension through flywheels.” however, Wotton says he sees flywheel
regenerative braking and ensure steady power, “it’s not economically viable, in technology as a complimentary technology, rather than a threat.
most places in the world, to take hydrogen other than from fossil fuels. this
means fuel cells are less green than batteries, and batteries can only get one thing is clear: the case for diesel-engined buses is becoming less and less
greener, especially if solar charging is introduced.” although fuel cell buses have convincing in urban environments where noise, emissions and congestion need
been trialled for 25 years, notes harrop, the number of fuel cell bus trials to be controlled.
worldwide peaked ten years ago.

Flywheel technology is being rolled out in several mega cities, including london.
companies involved include gKn hybrid Power, torotrak and ricardo. clive
Wotton, President of ricardo, points out that large buses have a reasonable

Electric buses - the ultimate EVs? automotiveworld.com 14