US bus companies are poised to reap the rewards of Joe Biden’s $174 billion EV plan — if they can crack 3 key challenges


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Few industries were hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than bus companies, but White House plans for the future of transportation could take the industry from bludgeoning to boom times. 

That’s because buses are a chief target of President Joe Biden’s plan to combat the climate crisis by electrifying US transportation. Biden’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure plan would set aside $174 billion for electric vehicle incentives designed to help the US halve its carbon emissions by 2030.

In the effort to reduce the impact of transportation, which accounts for nearly 30% of US greenhouse gas emissions, publicly-owned vehicles are a fertile starting ground. Biden’s proposal includes funding to replace 50,000 public transit buses and 480,000 school buses — the vast majority of them powered by diesel — with electric ones. 

Even before Biden put forward his plan, market research firm Mordor Intelligence predicted that over the next four years, the US bus industry will grow about 27% due to electric bus incentives at the state and federal levels — despite significant setbacks in ridership from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now, Biden’s bold plans could transform the American bus industry to the point where demand for e-buses in the US could soon outpace industry-dominated China, according to data from tech research firm IDTechEx. 

The US bus industry is set to boom despite COVID-19 setbacks

Biden’s proposal, which will surely morph as Congress debates it, allocates $25 billion to replace 20% of America’s school buses. Replacing 50,000 diesel transit buses at about $1 million a piece, would cost another $5 billion. These figures, crucially, do not include funding for charging stations along bus routes, though Biden plans to add incentives that would offset the disparity between diesel and electric costs and create a national network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030.

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What is clear is that the bill’s “Made in America” requirements would advantage US manufacturers, chief among them those that have already launched e-buses, including ByD, ElDorado National, Gillig, New Flyer, Proterra, and Van Hool, according to IDTechEx.

School bus manufacturers would also significantly benefit from the incentives, IDTechEx found, with companies like Blue Bird, GreenPower, Lion Electric, Navistar, and Daimler subsidiary Thomas Built Buses in a position to launch brand new multi-million dollar fleets. Biden’s incentives would support the entire bus manufacturing supply chain, from raw materials to parts, and increase the production of electric powertrain components such as motors, batteries, and inverters.

But, experts say, it won’t be easy to transform the bus industry. And if the electric vehicles are rolled out too soon, without adequate infrastructure or thought to how they should be deployed, it could cripple the nascent market.

From battery range to charging stations and rigid bus schedules, industry experts identified three key issues the US government and industry players must solve before e-buses can be rolled out at scale, and those ready to make them can reap the rewards. 

Electric buses are about twice as expensive as diesel ones

Switching over to electric buses comes with a hefty price tag …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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