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With the pace of bus electrification in China slowing thanks to a planned pullback of subsidies, there were fears that the EV bus revolution would run out of juice. Were, being the operative word.

An IDTechEx report on the subject says despite the Chinese government pledging to have its bus fleet entirely electric by 2027, it doubts it can hit that mark.

Therefore, there were fears that a planned 20,000 purely electric buses per year would not be produced — but signs are emerging of other markets picking up the slack.

“Until recently, it was uncertain whether the rest of the world would take up the slack of at least 20,000 pure electric buses yearly because even the RATP commitment in Paris of 800 is not of the right magnitude given that the Chinese used to place orders of up to 2000 at a time,” IDTechEx CEO Raghu Das said.

Cities and companies around the world are ordering more electric buses for their fleets, including EBuzz of the Netherlands ordering 159, Solaris of Poland ordering 190, and there plans for Vietnam to have 3,000 electric buses.

Add this to longer-term plans like the LA Metro Authority to fully electrify its fleet and the production picture looks rosy — but not enough to offset the expected fall in Chinese electric bus orders.

But Das says India could be a source of major electric bus orders in the future.

READ: Why India is shaping as a major EV centre

“For all that, it is in India that the missing 20,000 or more electric buses yearly are likely to be ordered if electric bus demand is to recover globally,” he said.

“India has announced energetic moves to replace 150,000 diesel buses and it will add more in order to cope with chronic air pollution. Indeed, India already has more buses than anywhere else.”

Currently, there are around 1.6 million registered buses in India, out of which only 170,000 are operated by public bus operators.

Under the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme, 60 percent of the bus price is contributed by the Centre while the rest is provided by the states.

If India were to get into the EV bus market in a big way, there would be untold environmental benefits — with nine out of the ten most polluted cities in the world all in India.

It would also create an opportunity for battery mineral miners, as the amount raw materials needed to supply these buses would be huge — creating an opportunity for miners of lithium, copper, nickel, and cobalt in particular.

The ASX offers plenty of opportunities for investment in both battery metal producers and hopefuls, such as ioneer (ASX:ION).

It’s currently focusing on the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, which is close to existing infrastructure and is 100 percent owned by ioneer.

Completed in October 2018, the Rhyolite Ridge Pre-Feasibility Study confirmed the project’s strong potential to become a cost-competitive, major producer of lithium carbonate and boric acid with an after-tax cashflow of $6.6 billion.


This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with ioneer.  This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.