Fifty-three new transit properties ordered zero emission buses in 2020, bringing the total to 229, across 44 states and territories. - BAE Systems

Fifty-three new transit properties ordered zero emission buses in 2020, bringing the total to 229, across 44 states and territories.

BAE Systems

Despite an overall depressed transit bus market due to COVID-19, the U.S. zero emission transit bus market grew by 24% in 2020, according to CALSTART’s annual report, “Zeroing in on ZEBs: The Advanced Technology Transit Bus Index.” The report noted that 53 new transit properties ordered zero emission buses (ZEBs) in 2020, bringing the total to 229.

The market growth tracked in the annual report identifies the significance of federal and state investments and incentives. Programs from the state level, like California’s HVIP Program and the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No-Emission Bus Program (FTA’s Low-No), are playing a key role in transforming the U.S. bus market. The Low-No program has distributed up to $485 million for ZEBs since 2013. The federal FY21 budget promisingly increased funding for the program to $180 million.

“Our study underscores the opportunity to accelerate the growth of the ZEB market in the United States. In partnership with our industry members, we are calling on Congress and the President to increase federal funding for ZEB’s by at least a factor of four times,” said CALSTART VP Fred Silver.

In addition to the growth of ZEB’s in the full-size transit bus market, the report notes there are now nearly 700 zero-emission vehicles deployed in other applications such as airport shuttles and paratransit services. This year’s CALSTART report includes figures for the Canadian ZEB market, which is a first for this data report. In Canada alone, over 249 ZEB’s have been deployed, with a high concentration in the province of Ontario.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The top full sized ZEB states are California (1,160), Washington (246), Florida (164), Colorado (100), and Illinois (78).
  • 1,015 full-sized transit buses are currently deployed in the USA with more than 1,775 on backlog.
  • New orders for smaller ZEBs are growing with a statewide procurement just completed in California.
  • Canada is committing to zero emissions, with over 249 full-sized transit buses and a goal to deploy nearly 5,000 ZEBs across all provinces and major cities.

CALSTART’s John Jackson, project manager; Bryan Lee, associate project manager; and Fred Silver, VP, are the authors of the "Zeroing in on ZEBs" report.

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