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Market Research Report

North America Bus Market Outlook 2019-2035: Growth Opportunities | Trends | Share-Size | COVID-19 Impact Analysis

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North America

North America Bus Market Overview

Developed regions such as North America and Europe which already have access to electric bus technologies will make a sizable contribution to the conventional hybrid and plug-in hybrid bus markets. However, fully electric buses will be the most preferred technology in developing regions as they will be late in adopting eBuses and are expected to leapfrog to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Although the uptake of natural gas powered buses will increase in the near future in North America, Europe and, to some extent, in China, it will not have much impact on the growth of the electric bus market in the medium and long terms. FCEVs are expected to gain momentum post 2020 as performance and costs improve, and as H2 infrastructure starts building up. North America bus market stood at $ 5.02 billion in 2016 to reach $ 7.72 billion by 2022, on the back of increasing production and sales of buses in the region.

Highlights of the Bus Market

  • Bus manufacturing is a slow-growth business with shifting demand patterns and new niches to exploit.
  • Electric buses are a given for the public sector; however, the private sector is concerned about cost benefit.
  • Advent of Euro-style OE ready-built vans is increasingly serious competition for under-15 passenger shuttle and para transit service. Growing conversion business versus traditional bus body fabrication is driven by demand from vanpools, shuttle operations, and para transit needs.
  • Bus fabricators have entered the luxury end of OE passenger van conversion in an effort for diversity growth.

Huge Investments in research and increasing production in the region by various manufacturing companies are the thriving engine behind the growth and hence a shift towards alternative powertrain driven vehicles such as electric buses.

Impact of individualism

• Despite federal initiatives to accelerate introduction of BRT corridors and adoption of e-buses, market size of buses in North America remains small due to a predominantly suburban lifestyle (55% of population lives in suburbs) and “car culture”. Importance of school buses

• North America is the largest market for purpose-built school buses. The market is expected to experience a moderate growth driven by fleet modernization supported by EPA’s DERA program providing $15-20K rebate for old bus replacement. Growth of electric buses

• Electric bus adoption is set to increase, particularly in transit application, due to introduction of Phase II GHG regulations, US DoT and CARB grants and incentives for e-buses, and fleet electrification plans of transit agencies. • Under the Transportation Electrification Action Plan Quebec and Ontario provinces provide incentives for purchase of ebuses and charging infrastructure.

Market Dynamics

Growth Drivers 

  • Surging Demand for School Buses
  • Alternate Fuel Buses Witnessing Greater Penetration in the region
  • Growing Demand for Public Transportation
  • United States Dominates North America Bus Market
  • Medium Sized Buses - Highest Demand Generating Segment

Urban air quality is becoming a major issue in cities around the world. Nitrogen oxide emissions in particular have been shown to have significant negative health impacts and diesel engines have come into focus in recent years as they have much higher emissions in real world driving conditions than in laboratory testing. As the world’s urban population continues to grow, identifying sustainable, cost effective transport options is becoming more critical. Introducing electric vehicles – including electric buses – is one of the most promising ways of reducing harmful tailpipe emissions, reducing CO2 and improving overall air quality in cities. Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions and lower CO2 emissions even in areas that derive a relatively high percentage of their power generation from coal and natural gas.

Urbanisation and demographic changes Our services benefit from increasing urbanisation around the world, in particular driving demand for bus operations. Existing towns and cities are expanding, in addition to the creation of new centres of population. These trends are driving the requirement for additional transportation services, both within and between locations, so our bus, coach and rail operations are increasingly in demand. In addition population growth in the North America will drive further demand for public transport services.

Modal shift is the move by individuals from one form of transport to another. For National Express, the relevant move is from the private car to bus, coach and rail travel. The biggest reason for this is an increase in the cost of motoring, such as insurance pricing, and the increasing use of mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, while travelling, although other factors such as environmental concerns and congestion can also be important. 
Environment and congestion Environmental concerns continue to have an influence on customer behaviour. Bus, coach and rail services are significantly more environmentally friendly forms of transport than the private car or air travel, reducing both the level of carbon emissions per person travelling and travel congestion. Society as a whole and individuals are becoming increasingly concerned about the effect of emissions on the environment and are explicitly choosing public transport as an alternative.

Economic environment :The propensity to travel is generally affected by levels of economic activity, as represented by GDP growth. Although levels of transportation and mobility remain relatively stable through the economic cycle, periods of GDP growth generate additional volume demand and pricing benefit.
Deregulation, liberalisation and outsourcing Our markets are created when state provision of public transport is transferred to the private sector. There are different models for this, with examples ranging from the deregulated markets of  North America. 

The main driver for the electrification trend over the next 20 years will be further sharp reductions in EV battery costs, making electric cars cheaper than internal combustion engine (ICE) alternatives by the mid-to-late 2020s in almost every market, on the basis of both lifetime costs and upfront costs. Since 2010, the average cost of lithium-ion batteries per kilowatt-hour has fallen by 85% on a mixture of manufacturing economies of scale and technology improvements.


High upfront costs: although the TCO of an e-bus can look better than that of a diesel bus, the TCO is not always the main criterion for municipalities when making a purchase decision. Many cities do not have the funds to pay for e-buses with higher upfront costs, even with additional support from the government. This is currently slowing down e-bus adoption. There is a unique opportunity for cities to change their procurement approach from outright purchase to leases payments, and to focus more on lower total cost of ownership. Lease or loan repayments could be covered with operational cost savings, helping to enable much faster e-bus adoption • Scalability: most of the e-buses on the road in the U.S. today were bought using national and regional level grants. This is not scalable. The upfront cost of e-buses will have to fall and become more cost competitive with diesel buses for the industry to mature. Until then, financing options like the battery lease program offered by Proterra, which lower the upfront costs of the e-bus, will play an important role. • Flexibility and operational experience: electric buses can be less flexible than diesel buses, due to their range and reliance on different charging options. This makes it difficult to incorporate them into bus routes running for 24 hours. The lack of long-term experience with running e-buses on a commercial scale is also creating challenges for cities choosing to go electric. • Technology cost declines: municipalities are aware that battery costs are falling. Some may be pushing their e-bus purchase decisions back to avoid the financing risks associated with further technology cost declines. While for some cities this may make sense, many others will want to start e-bus deployments early to provide enough time for step by step infrastructure upgrades to eventually meet the needs of a fully electric bus fleet. The demand for fossil fuels such as nickel, cobalt and lithium.


The key challenges in the transition to electric mobility and solutions that are well suited to address them. This includes vehicle and battery cost developments; supply and value chain sustainability of battery materials; implications of electric mobility for power systems; government revenue from taxation; and the interplay between electric, shared and automated mobility options.

Market Trends and Opportunities

  • Opportunity: USA population growth is forecast to grow by 10% through to 2030 driving the need for further public transport services, whilst the combination of an ageing and increasingly social and ethnically diverse population will drive the need for new products and services to meet changing customer needs.
  • Opportunity: The proliferation of real-time travel information and mobile devices improves the customer experience making public transport increasingly more attractive compared with the car.
  • Opportunity: Improved access to city center locations, such as priority bus lanes, for environmentally friendly transport.
  • Opportunity: The global economy is emerging from recession and demand for public transport is likely to improve as the economy grows and employment levels rise.
  • Trends
  • Trend 1 : Scheduled service in the Northeast Corridor continues to be a focal point for expansion and innovation. Last month, Go Buses became the fifth carrier to offer high frequency service along the entire length of the Boston to Washington, DC corridor, heightening the competition facing BoltBus, Greyhound, and Megabus.
  • Trend 2 : Public agencies that had provided subsidized bus services primarily to link rural communities with nearby population centers are gradually expanding their focus to give these places interlined connections to the national network. The federal “Section 5311” program is enhancing the strength of Greyhound’s hub-and-spoke system, restoring some of the connectivity lost decades ago.
  • Trend 3 :Business class and luxury service remain on a growth trajectory, with expansion centered on specialty lines rather than national carriers. The largest scheduled bus lines are not expected to make any major moves in the upcoming year.
  • Trend 4 :The dramatic expansion of Flixbus in Europe—and its acquisition of Megabus’ retail operation on the continent’s mainland—could foreshadow new approaches to branding and contracting bus services in the United States. Interest in more sophisticated pricing strategies is also growing, mirroring those employed by commercial airlines.
  • Trend 5 :New technological platforms could transform the way intercity ground transport services are marketed and sold. Innovative app-based services such as Flitways and Skedaddle have emerged as leaders and could become disruptive forces in the years ahead. 
  • Significant adjustments at Megabus stemming from Stagecoach’s sale of the carrier to Variant. FirstGroup may also be eyeing changes to Greyhound.
  • Continuing challenges presented by persistently low gasoline prices, particularly outside the Northeast Corridor.
  • Growing public awareness of premium services, as well as the potential expansion of these services to Arizona, the Carolinas, and Great Lakes region, over the next several years.
  • Expansion of Flixbus beyond the Southwest, possibly to northeast and Texas, and the strategies this company uses to attract new markets to bus travel.

Geographical Market (Dominate Market/Target Opportunities)

Electric vehicles, or EVs, are on track to dominate global sales of passenger cars and buses by 2040, and to encroach significantly on the market for vans and short-distance trucking. Based on analysis of the evolving economics in different vehicle segments and geographical markets, BNEF’s Electric Vehicle Outlook 2019 shows electrics taking up 57% of the global passenger car sales by 2040, slightly higher than it forecast a year ago. Electric buses are set to hold 81% of municipal bus sales by the same date.For the first time, BNEF has incorporated in its forecast detailed work on the commercial vehicle market. These projections show electric models taking 56% of light commercial vehicle sales in Europe, the U.S. and China within the next two decades, plus 31% of the medium commercial market.Heavy trucks will prove the hardest segment for electrics to crack, with the latter’s sales limited to 19% in 2040. Their use case will mostly be in shorter-distance applications. However, conventional heavy trucks on long-haul routes will also face other, non-electric competition – from alternatives using natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells.

The role of shared mobility services such as ride-hailing and car-sharing will be important in this evolving picture. These services account for less than 5% of all passenger miles travelled globally at the moment, but this is set to rise to 19% by 2040.

“Providers of shared mobility services will choose to go electric faster than private individuals. There are now over a billion users of shared mobility services such as ride-hailing globally. These services will continue to grow and gradually reduce demand for private vehicle ownership.”

Europe pulls ahead of the U.S. as the number two EV market globally during the 2020s. The oil, electricity and battery industries will all be impacted by the rise of EVs. A year ago, BNEF estimated their impact on road fuel demand at 7.3 million barrels per day by 2040. However, it has now nearly doubled this to 13.7 million barrels per day, partly because of new forecasts for electrification of the commercial vehicle sector and partly, paradoxically, because ICE fuel efficiency is expected to proceed more slowly than previously thought. That means that every EV displaces a conventional car that would have used a greater quantity of road fuel. Despite the radical changes ahead, the outlook for road transport emissions remains far from rosy. The size of the global on-the-road conventional passenger car fleet continuing to grow until 2030. This means that road vehicle emissions will continue to rise for the next decade, followed then by a sharp fall in the years before 2040, which will only return them to levels similar to 2018.

California will continue setting the national pace on EV policies and deployment, and consumers will have more EV choices in 2019, although federal EV incentives will be at risk.  Utilities will continue playing a key role in EV deployment by building charging infrastructure, providing incentives to increase consumer demand, and ensuring that charging is a grid benefit.  Last but not least, the Trump administration will fight policies and programs promoting zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs).

While EVs have accelerated across the U.S., transportation remains the country’s largest source of emissions and EVs are the most promising technology to decarbonize this sector. With climate change impacts becoming more serious and roughly a decade left to avoid dangerous global warming, continued EV deployment is key to a safe climate future.

California is the state that is mostly pushing for the transition to electric buses: public transport bus fleets are expected to be zero emission by 2040. It’s the target of the Innovative Clean Transit rule, voted by California’s Air Resources Board (CARB), which public transit agencies to buying only zero-emission buses (battery electric or fuel cell) starting in 2029. This standard will ensure nearly 14,000 buses on California roads will be zero emission by 2040. A move that makes particularly sense, given the fact that California is the US leader in electricity generation from non-hydroelectric renewable energy source (geothermal, wind, solar).

Mergers and Acquisitions

•    NFI Group Inc., ("NFI") is North America's largest and most diversified bus and coach manufacturer providing market leading transportation solutions under the brands: New Flyer,MCI, ARBOC and NFI Parts. Tracing its roots back to 1930, NFI has over 74,000 vehicles in service in Canada and the United States. 

•    Alexander Dennis Limited, ("ADL") is one of the world's leading independent bus and coach manufacturers and the number one global producer of double deck buses. With a long history spanning more than a century, ADL has over 31,000 vehicles in service in the UK, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the United States sold under the Alexander Dennis and Plaxton brands.

•    NFI has acquired ADL for £320 million (approximately U.S. $405 million) representing an implied purchase multiple of 7.3x ADL's fiscal year 2018 Adjusted EBITDA(1). Transaction is expected to be immediately accretive (before potential synergies) to NFI earnings per share and cash flow per share

•    The transaction was funded through NFI's existing credit facility, a new US$300 million credit facility and the issuance from treasury, of 1.47 million common shares of NFI, in lieu of cash, to ADL's primary shareholders, including ADL's CEO and CFO

•    The combined business creates an independent global bus OEM with market leading positions in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, North America and a growing footprint in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe.

•    The acquisition complements NFI's product offering, diversifies its business model and creates a platform for international growth

•    ADL's proven products and successful track record of entering and growing in new markets, underpinned by NFI's broad expertise, product offering and strong appetite to invest, is expected to accelerate technology and innovation sharing and development

Player’s Specific data (Product Launch, International and Domestic Players dominance, Sales Distribution)

Product Launch

New Flyer was founded in Winnipeg in 1930 with just five employees and is now the largest bus manufacturer in North America. The company has a manufacturing plant in Winnipeg as well as four others in the U.S. A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggested New Flyer is one of the biggest competitors for Chinese e-bus manufacturers BYD and Yutong in the U.S. market.2 New Flyer makes hybrid, trolley-electric, battery-electric, and fuel-cell electric buses including its “next generation” Xcelsior Charge battery-powered bus with a 420-kilometre range. Of the 41,000 buses serviced by New Flyer, 18% are powered in some capacity by batteries or electric motors (such as plug-in hybrids), while 4% are entirely zero-emission.
Nova Bus is a Quebec-based bus manufacturer with two manufacturing plants in Canada and one in the U.S. In 2011, the Volvo-owned company decided it was time to go electric, developing the battery-powered model ‘LFSe’ to join its range of diesel, hybrid, and natural-gaspowered buses.22 An 18-month trial of Nova’s batteryelectric buses in 2017 and 2018 by Montreal’s transit authority saw the delivery of North America’s first on-the-go charging technology. The trial resulted in the order of four additional buses, which will join its fleet this year. B.C. transit provider TransLink has also decided to follow in Montreal’s tire tracks, piloting two 40-foot Nova buses in its Vancouver fleet over the first few months of 2019.

Quebec-based Lion Electric Company is North America’s largest supplier of electric school buses, employing 135 people and manufacturing all of its buses in Canada. Lion has around 200 e-buses on roads across the continent, with around 80 in Canada. Lion’s electric school bus, the LionC, can be found on school runs across North America, with the most in California. And the number of Canadian kids enjoying an allelectric commute will soon rise, with Lion recently agreeing to supply transit provider Keolis with 12 LionCs for its fleet of school buses in Montreal. The company is also taking orders for two additional electric bus models: the LionA, a 26-seat mini-school bus with a 306-kilometre range, and the LionM, a mini-bus designed specifically for the paratransit market with a number of accessibility features.

While battery-electric buses are making their debut elsewhere in Canada, Vancouver has been successfully operating electric buses of a different kind for more than 70 years. Vancouver is home to 262 operational electric trolley buses—the third-largest such system in North America.18 This year, Vancouver is diversifying its electric fleet with the addition of four new on-thego charging battery-electric buses purchased from Canadian  manufacturers as part of a partnership between TransLink, Natural Resource Canada, Metro Vancouver, and BC Hydro. The pilot project is part of a pan-Canadian initiative led by the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC).

International and Domestic Players Dominance

Daimler Buses is the market leader in its traditional core markets focuses on innovative and pioneering city buses and touring coaches. In 2018, Daimler Buses once again presented itself as a future-oriented manufacturer with new products such as the eCitaro, digital services, a “future package” for our production network and the implementation of the CASE strategy.

Go Buses became the fifth carrier to offer high frequency service along the entire length of the Boston to Washington, DC corridor, heightening the competition facing BoltBus, Greyhound, and Megabus.
The big news, though came in December, when Stagecoach agreed to sell all of its North American operations, including its Megabus unit for $271 million to Variant, a California private equity firm. Stagecoach has been a major player in the long-distance bus market since rolling out the Megabus brand here in 2006, but that will soon end.

Despite the many companies that have left, recently the transit bus manufacturing industry has seen two notable new entrants into the US market. Proterra and BYD America are new entrants who manufacture battery-electric buses. Although they currently have a relatively small number of buses operating in the US, both manufacturers have been growing. Their distinguishing features are their battery-electric propulsions, though they have brought other innovations to the market as well.

COVID-19 impact on "North America Bus Market"

The report analyses and includes complete detailed chapter of 50-70 pages about the short term & long terms impact of COVID-19 outbreak on each segment of "North America Bus Market" along with government measures to support the sector. It also showcases the current market landscape during COVID, impact of the virus on leading companies, expected demand schedule and supply chain in the industry and other various major factors. This will help you identify those companies that may benefit from this pandemic as well as those that will lose out.

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Key questions answered in this research report

  • What is the total market size by 2035 and what would be the expected growth rate of sales?
  • What are the total sales in 2018-19 and what would be the expected demand over the forecast period?
  • What are the recent developments and business strategy of companies?
  • What are the market opportunities for the existing and entry level players?
  • What are the key market trends?
  • What are the factors which are driving this market?
  • What are the major barriers to market growth?
  • Who are the key vendors in this market space?

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  • North America Bus Market Facilitate decision-making based on strong historic and forecast data for
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North America Bus Market Outlook 2019-2035: Growth Opportunities | Trends | Share-Size | COVID-19 Impact Analysis

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