The European market for electric buses 2019

Lots of figures circulates in the bus and coach sector. Wim Chatrou of Chatrou CME Solutions has since many years been publishing a lengthy annual report about European registrations by type of bus and coach, country, weight class and nowadays also by alternative drives. Recently he published the figures over 2019 but also over the last seven years from 2012 including all different types of alternative drivelines. In this article a glimpse of how he market-shares are divided.

One of the problems in splitting the number of registrations into the correct vehicle type is that there are hardly any good reports to base statistics on, for example, such as reports from manufacturers via press releases. Nowadays they are two and three-stage rockets: the first press release is about an order in the making, then a message follows that the order has been signed, possibly with options, then a press release about the delivery follows, which is usually also done in parts with each times a new press release about a 'unique' delivery. Logically, manufacturers naturally want to let you know with these messages how well they are doing and especially how good their products are and are received by customers. It does make it difficult to identify a market.

An additional problem is that during their press conferences at fairs, such as the IAA in Hanover and Busworld, manufacturers often say that they are market leaders. Be careful, because it may be a specific segment, such as a nine-seater bus or a niche market for fifteen metre three-axle vehicles in Sweden. Wim Chatrou, former PR manager of VDL Bus & Coach, therefore partly uses figures obtained from official bodies in the countries from which he collected the figures. This concerns, for example, the RAI Data Center in the Netherlands and KBA (Kraftfahrt Bundesambt) in Germany. It concerns registrations of vehicles that have been delivered and not the orders or order intake. Chatrou comments, you can even call it a 'disclaimer', that he only provides statistics on countries in Western Europe including Poland, for the simple reason that these countries provide him with enough detailed data to provide reliable statistics to make. Therefore, there are no statistics for the European countries that do not provide him with reliable data.

Corona

Today, most attention is focused on the market share of electric buses and especially the growth in this. Here, too, the cheering messages are many, but most of those recent large orders will only be delivered in 1 to 1,5 years. Given the delivery times this will not alter in the near future, and certainly not now that the covid-19 or coronavirus is causing (temporary) factory closings worldwide, both bus manufacturers and especially suppliers.

Chatrou counted 3025 of electric buses in Europe from 2012 to 2019, excluding trolley buses, hybrids, CNG buses and fuel cell buses. In 2019, 5,652 buses with alternative drivelines were registered on a total market of 14,392 vehicles. Related to the total number of registrations, including diesel buses, no less than 39 percent have alternative drivelines. In 2018 this was 28% with 3,340 alternative powered buses out of a total of 11,845 registered city buses.

E-bus in Europe

The various bus manufacturers compete for the electrical market leadership, but to say “I am number one in the market” only counts if the buses have actually been delivered and registered. In Europe, in 2019 this involved 1,687 e-buses >8 tons GVW. VDL Bus & Coach was market leader last year with 386 units. Chinese busmaker BYD then ranks second with 236 e-buses, including the 79 chassis delivered to ADL the number of registrations is 315. Interestingly, Volvo - one of the electrical bus pioneers - is lagging behind with 135 registrations on place four, just behind Solaris with 145 e-buses registered. Perhaps even more interesting is that Chatrou makes clear how diverse and perhaps also difficult to survey the e-bus landscape is with the no less than sixty (!) different suppliers, from MAN, Sileo-Bozankaya, Ursus, CarBus, Scania, Ankai et cetera. up to and including Europe's largest 'city bus player' Mercedes-Benz.

Since the first e-bus

In the Netherlands, which is currently a forerunner in Europe in the field of electric bus, VDL Bus & Coach supplied 236, which means that only 150 VDL e-Citea's found employment elsewhere in Europe. On the other hand, in Europe, since 2012 VDL Bus & Coach has been the market leader with 668 e-buses out of a total of 3,025 e-buses, although BYD follows closely with 645 vehicles, including 238 chassis delivered to ADL. The results in market shares: VDL has 22.1 percent of the market, followed by BYD with 21.4 percent. Solaris is the third player with 326 e-buses and a market share of 10.8 percent. If the total of 3,025 and their suppliers are put into a graph, there is even a little pie slice devoted to "other suppliers” with a total of 198 vehicles. This concerns manufacturers such as Rampini, Caetano, Gepebus, CarBus, Linkker, MAN, UNVI, Urbis, Scania et cetera. In numbers of produced e-buses until now insignificant manufacturers, but some of then can play a prominent part in the near future.

Who has the most?

Although the e-bus landscape will change quickly, it is of course nice to see which country has the most. In 2019 that turns out to be the Netherlands with 726 e-buses, France then emerges as second with 368 e-buses and England is third with 322 electric buses, mainly thanks to the efforts that Transport for London has made and ADL's collaboration with BYD. Of the total of 3,025 e-buses, 78 e-buses are registered in Belgium, while Luxembourg, which has always been on the forefront of electric bus transport, has 84 e-buses registered.

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