• Number of e-buses to increase by over seven times in 32 Latin American cities by 2030, representing an investment opportunity of over US$11.3 billion.
  • Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico are expected to be the most important markets in the coming years.
  • Investment opportunities are expected to grow as more cities and countries set targets to electrify vehicle fleets.
  • New research is meant to help investors and financiers explore business opportunities.

The electric bus market in Latin America is growing rapidly, representing an investment opportunity of US$11.6 billion by 2030 and $24.6 billion by 2050, new research by C40 Cities suggests.

The research is meant to help investors and financiers explore business opportunities in Latin America. It examines in detail how electric bus projects are developing across the region and the plans of cities for the electrification of public transportation fleets.

A fleet of more than 25,000 e-buses is expected to be deployed by the end of this decade and more than 55,000 by 2050, from just over 4,000 currently deployed in the 32 cities C40 studied. This represents a sevenfold increase by the end of the decade and a fifteen-fold increase by mid-century.

E-buses are expected to account for 30% of the 80,000 buses in the 32 Latin American cities studied by 2030, increasing to over 60% by 2050. While representing a huge opportunity for investment, concerted efforts are needed to transform the market for electric buses. As the figures represent cities’ mandates and plans, thorough project preparation is still needed, as well the attraction of affordable finance and industry promotion to meet demand.

Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Mexico are expected to be the most important markets, accounting for 82% of the region’s e-bus market until 2030. But other countries are sending important signals and presenting interesting opportunities for investment, as well. São Paulo, Brazil, Bogotá, Colombia, and Santiago, Chile, are expected to grow their e-bus fleets the most in the coming years, followed by cities like Quito, Ecuador, and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Ilan Cuperstein, C40’s Regional Director for Latin America, said: “This study clearly demonstrates that Latin American cities are leading the way in the transition towards zero-emission transport that is equitable, accessible and clean. C40 is proud to support mayors in their efforts to decarbonise the transport sector while improving the health of citizens and the quality of public transit. We hope that national governments and financing institutions recognise the unique opportunity to support e-bus deployment through ambitious policies and credit lines.”

Bianca Macêdo, C40’s Senior Manager for Clean Transport Finance, said: “Cities in Latin America have a clear and substantial demand for e-bus projects. Investors and financiers are willing to offer strategies to solve high upfront costs. We believe this report will support the matchmaking between the cities’ needs and investment needed to reach deployment of e-bus projects that will fight climate change, improve air quality and therefore save lives.”

Latin America offers opportunities for investment opportunities for several reasons:

  • High urbanisation: Latin America and the Caribbean is the second most urbanised region in the world after North America, with 84% of the population living in cities in 2022.
  • High use of public transport: Latin America is a mass-public transport powerhouse. The existing public transport and shared system comprises 68% of all passenger travel, one of the highest in the world. This favours the public bus system and, therefore, an opportunity to position the electric bus market.
  • Public policy focused on emissions reduction and sustainable urban mobility. The transport sector is among the region’s biggest sources of emissions. In several cities, poor air quality is driving the introduction of stricter vehicle emission standards and adoption of e-buses. National governments are increasingly recognising the need to support cities and local governments in this area.
  • Electric grid with high penetration in renewable energies. Countries in the region show the strongest linkages to renewable energy in transport globally, with nearly 12% of their Nationally Determined Contributions related to alternative fuels. This allows more environmental benefits from e-buses, as they are powered by clean energy sources.

The research was conducted as part of the  Zero Emission Bus Rapid-deployment Accelerator (ZEBRA) in collaboration with UrbanShift and the TUMI E-Bus Mission programmes, with support from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

Read more about the Pipeline of Electric Bus Projects in Latin America in English and Spanish and a recent analysis of debt financing for zero-emission buses in Latin America.

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