This article first appeared in the Bus-News magazine, Issue 1 2022.
On 15 March, ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association released the latest statistics for the European bus market, showing a big increase in registration numbers for electric buses, growing from 2,210 in 2020 to 3,282 in 2021.
For 2021, electric buses already represent 10.6% of all bus registrations within the EU. Add to that the 10.1% for hybrid-electric buses, and together the hybrids and full electric buses represent over a fifth of all new registrations in the EU.
Sure, Europe is still far behind for example the Chinese market, where the city of Shenzhen alone has a fleet of 16,000 electric buses, but the future is electric. In Europe, battery manufacturers are heavily scaling up production to meet the demand from both the passenger car market and the transportation sector. Electric buses are the key to efficient, zero-emissions public transportation.
Fuel-cell electric buses represent a new and rapidly growing sub- category of zero emission buses. For example, one of the European market leaders, Solaris, has sold a promising 54 hydrogen buses in 2021 after first launching the model in 2019.
Skeleton Technologies, the global leader in supercapacitor energy storage technologies, is working with a number of customers on fuel-cell electric bus applications, where the current challenges include the comparatively slow response time of batteries and the oversizing of the battery pack – both are currently required to reach the necessary power to support the fuel cells. Oversizing leads to increased costs, and unnecessary increase in weight and volume of the battery pack.
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