Air pollution caused by vehicles has emerged as a serious concern for governments from around the world. Impelled by the demand for public transportation facilities with lower emissions, several national governments are seeking environment-friendly alternatives. According to the WHO, air pollution leads to about 100,000 deaths every year in Europe alone and reduces life expectancy by an average of one year. Considering the adverse impact of pollution on the environment and people, governments across the globe are pondering over solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. The demand for electric buses and vehicles has, therefore, surged exponentially. European countries, including the U.K, France, and Germany, are emerging as key markets for electric buses and hybrid vehicles.
Asia Pacific Emerges as the Most Lucrative Market for Electric Buses
Market surveys suggest that electric buses and vehicle sales in mainland China have increased exponentially over the last year. Among the emerging nations in Asia Pacific, the technological roadmap of China is expected to comprise rapid proliferation of electric vehicles in the next decade. Appallingly rising pollution levels in the major cities of China have compelled authorities to force bus operators in adopting pollution-free public transport alternatives. This has augmented the demand for electric buses in the Asia Pacific region.
Whilst the Chinese government is highly supportive of electric buses, it is still left to be seen how the rest of the world gears up for the latest automotive technology. Electric buses in Asia Pacific, particularly in China, are touted as the answer to the country’s pollution woes. Inbuilt with the latest technology, electric buses are expected to ease the problems of road congestion, a key factor fuelling their demand in the Asia Pacific region and elsewhere.
China Crusading for Pollution-Free Transport with Electric Buses
China has emerged as the forerunner in introducing electric buses for public transport across a country. The Asian giant has been crusading for providing pollution-free transport to its citizens, and electric buses are indispensable for fulfilling its aim. In 2014, approximately 20,000 new electric buses were added to the public transport fleet of major cities in China, including Beijing, Hebei, and Tianjin. Moreover, the remarkably increasing demand for electric buses in China has compelled automotive manufacturers to upgrade their technologies and introduce more competent electric vehicles in the country.
BYD, China’s most renowned electric bus manufacturer, launched the Lancaster eBus in 2014. This innovatively mantled 60-foot battery-electric bus can drive over 170 miles on one charge, and is capable of carrying a passenger load of almost 120 people. Ankai, one of the leading manufacturers in the country, also has unveiled its fifth generation of electric buses, which will be available across the major cities of China. Inbuilt with e-control systems, this electric bus is likely to be the first of its kind.
Apart from Asia Pacific, the electric buses market is exhibiting impressive growth also in other regions, including the U.S. Venture capitalist such as General Motors and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers invested US$30 mn in Proterra Inc., the electric bus manufacturer based in the U.S. Such developments will give a significant impetus to the growth of the electric bus market globally.