The Indian electric bus market is projected to reach 7,187 units by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 53 per cent during 2019–2025, according to a report by P&S Intelligence.
In recent years, the Indian Government has planned several funding schemes and policies related to electric bus and its charging station, primarily to address the issue of rising pollution levels across the country with the introduction of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). Many public transport agencies have signed contractual orders with electric bus manufacturers for the procurement of electric buses. During the forecast period, the market is projected to follow the same tendency as electric bus manufacturers are scaling up their production and offerings.
On the basis of vehicle type, the Indian electric bus market is categorised into battery electric bus (BEB) and hybrid electric bus (HEB). Of these, in terms of volume, the BEB category is expected to continue dominating the market during the forecast period. Higher government support for these buses, coupled with declining prices of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries is expected to benefit the market during the forecast period.
Based on length, the Indian electric bus market is categorised into electric buses of less than 10 meters and electric buses of more than 10 meters. Between these two, the less than 10 meters category recorded higher sales volume in the market, with more than 60 per cent share in 2018. Length agnostic subsidy led to the preference for smaller size buses by State Road Transport Undertakings (STUs) in the country.
According to industry experts, the average price of Li-ion battery cells for large order declined from around USD 1000/kWh in 2010 to around USD 333/kWh in 2018. As battery accounts for around 25–40 per cent of the electric bus manufacturing cost, the declining prices of batteries would help bus manufacturers to keep the prices of electric buses under check. Furthermore, it is expected that the cost of electric vehicles including buses, would come down due to increasing operational efficiencies. As in the case of internal combustion engines (ICEs), whose costs have been reduced with decades of experience, the electric vehicle’s cost too will also continue to fall with technical advancements, operational efficiencies, and economies of scale, benefiting the Indian electric bus market during the forecast period.
The Indian electric bus market is primarily driven by the government’s strict emission norms and regulations, and support in the form of subsidies and grants. Also, to deal with the growing concerns related to environmental degradation, the government has planned to roll out fleets of electric and hybrid buses, and has taken initiatives to encourage electric bus manufacturing within the country. The Ministry of Urban Development has recently launched the Green Urban Transport Scheme (GUTS) with the aim to reduce carbon emissions from the public transport vehicles in the country. The Ministry proposed an USD 3.6 billion (Rs. 250 billion) grant for the development of electric vehicles for public transport in the country.
Olectra Greentech and Tata Motors Limited are the two important players operating in the Indian electric bus market. Other major players in the market include Ashok Leyland, JBM Auto (operates with its joint venture partner Solaris Bus & Coach SA), Optare PLC, Deccan Auto Limited (in technical association with Zhongtong Bus Holding Co. Ltd.), and Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles.