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        FIEKView:Promising business opportunities for electric buses amid the global drive for low- carbon transportation
        IEKView:全球掀低碳運輸潮 電動巴士商機可期
        • 2024/06/06
        • 659
        • 15

        Low-carbon transportation is one of the key initiatives amid the drive for net zero by 2050. With regard to the huge business opportunities for the new generation of energy-saving and environmentally friendly vehicles, the sales volume of electric buses has shown a steady growth trend both domestically and internationally. According to a research report by Markets & Markets, the global sales of electric buses continues to grow and is forecast to exceed 670,000 units by 2027, out of which, the Asia-Pacific region will remain the single largest regional market.

        Batteries, electric motors and control systems can all be produced in Taiwan

        In response to the international trend of carbon reduction, the Taiwanese government began promoting electric buses in 2012 and has been gradually establishing a domestic supply chain for electric buses and their components. The sales volume of electric buses continues to grow at a stable pace with the support of subsidies and towards the target of 100% electrification by 2030. The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) estimates that in the first half of 2023, electric buses accounted for over 30% of total bus sales in Taiwan.

        Taiwan has been developing its own electric bus industry for more than a decade. In terms of batteries, Taiwan has the capability to manufacture battery cells and Battery Management Systems (BMS). In addition, Taiwan has the design and manufacturing capabilities for electric motors and their controllers. As far as the electric vehicle control system is concerned, Taiwan is also capable of producing Vehicle Control Units (VCUs), i.e., the "brains" of electric buses.

        The Design and Manufacture in Taiwan (DMIT) initiative was launched in 2020 by the Industrial Development Administration of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This was followed by both RAC Electric Vehicles Inc. and Master Transportation passing their qualification reviews by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Electric Bus Demonstration Project in February of 2021. These have all served to boost the continued R&D and manufacturing of electric buses and their key components across the supply chain in Taiwan.

        Expansion of international marketing and development of potential markets

        When considering how best to respond to the future global demand for electric buses, two directions are recommended. The first priority is the development of electric bus models with export potential. For example, sales in the North American region are expected to grow to 25,000 units by 2027, out of which 24,000 units will be sold in the U.S., representing the single largest market.

        The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the U.S. requires 60%, 70%, 80% and 100% of the battery materials to be manufactured in North America or the U.S.’s trading partners by 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2029 respectively, Taiwan may proactively develop the U.S. market at this juncture given its capabilities in manufacturing batteries, motors, and electric controls.

        The second priority is to increase the exposure of electric buses made in Taiwan and attract export orders by attending leading international conferences/events. For example, Foxtron Technologies’ electric bus Model T was used during the 2022 G20 summit in Bali to carry the distinguished guests arriving from different countries from their aircraft to the immigration hall at Ngurah Rai International Airport and served as the shuttle vehicle for VIPs at the event venue. This allowed the high-profile guests from various countries to experience riding in the Taiwan-made electric buses. It also enhanced the exposure of made-in-Taiwan electric vehicles by inviting international media to take pictures and broadcast the event, which will facilitate the future negotiation of export orders. 

        Major global religious activities also present potential business opportunities. For instance, the provision of transportation for the world-famous Hajj pilgrimage of Muslims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Due to the underdeveloped railway transportation system, Saudi Arabia currently involves the operation of around 50,000 buses. This, along with other world-famous pilgrimages, could be business opportunities worth exploring.

        One of the main themes at CES 2024 in the U.S. revolved around innovative mobility and human-machine interaction (HMI). Based on its long-standing and close observation of the trends at the CES, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has identified that the integration of generative AI, innovative displays, and human-machine interaction in order to achieve real-time intelligence and personalized services will be a development direction worthy of note for the R&D and manufacturing of unique features for Taiwan’s electric buses. 

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