China is leading fuel cell public bus operations
The global electric bus market size is projected to reach 935K units by 2027, an increase of about 27% CAGR from 137K sold electric bus in 2019.
For city-bus, inter-city bus, passenger coaches long driving range, low-maintenance/repair costs, fast cold-start capabilities from -30C and winter durability are more and more met by technological advancements in battery pack/management technologies and innovative energy storage systems.
The rise of public awareness of pollution and environmental hazards, more and more stringent government regulations are driving OEM to focus product development on environment-friendly zero-emission buses and trucks.
Electric public transportation without charging poles
China raised its 2025 sales target for new-energy vehicles (NEVs) from previously planned 20% to 25% of all car sales despite slowing NEV sales after steep cuts to government subsidies. This target was communicated end December last year by MIIT Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, including radically reduced requirements for NEVs’ energy consumption.
The average fuel consumption of new plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles in China is required to drop to 2 liters per 100 kilometers by 2025, and the average power consumption of BEV battery electric passenger vehicles must decrease to 12 kW/h per 100km.
In 2019 NEV production in the middle kingdom reached 1.242 million units, a decrease of 2.3% compared to the previous year, while sales dived by 4% reaching 1.206 mio units.
However, the MIIT still set future growth targets by 35 million vehicles to be sold by 2025, whereas NEVs shall capture a market share of 20%, including the growing zero-emission long-range (public) transportation segment. Long-range city bused, passenger coaches and inter-city liners as well as inter-provincial logistic service are only achievable if we see more and more hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles.
Hydrogen is more and more recognized by governments as the future energy source to decarbonize the automotive and transportation industry and beyond. Chinese government is encourage industry partners up- and downstream to explore, innovate and industrialize renewable energy solutions across all energy using sectors of society, including building (industrial and residential), transportation (automotive, public and commercial transportation) and industry (processing, manufacturing and services).
In order to bring forward energy transition and increase round-trip- efficiency in energy conversion solutions sector electrification must increase and fossil fuel usage decrease, empowered by cross-industries/sector-coupling, using surplus power generated from intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar to produce hydrogen fuel for vehicles.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is regarded as the "ultimate solution" to power next generation of NEV New Energy Electric Vehicles, particularly for the fuel cell propelled electric powertrain.
China ignited 2nd stage of electro-mobility & transportation
China has ignited the 2nd stage of zero-emission powertrain solutions in the medium and long-range public transportation segment after becoming a global leader in the city/urban NEV electric passenger car market. By enacting several hydrogen-related government policies by central and local government and a clear technology roadmap to close gap to leading countries such as Japan and Korea, the Chinese leaders made the right decision not to focus fuel cell passenger cars, but instead to acquire key technologies to decarbonize fleet operators of public and goods transportation by hydrogen PEM fuel cell energy.
In 2018, Chinese state leaders launched “FCV Strategy 2030”and implemented a long-term roadmap to achieve fuel consumption and emission targets and be ready for the zero-emission Winter Olympics in Zhangjiakou with a fleet of FC vehicles (premium SUVs, VIP shuttle buses, athletes and visitor buses).
Within four years since 2016, the cumulated FCEV production have reached 6.500 units, abc assumes the government park target of 5.000 FCEV on streets end of 2020 is reasonable and highly achievable. However, our analysts doubt that China will also have 100 HRS in operation the same year as to our knowledge currently only 28 are available for fleet operators.
China pursue the target to have 50,000 FCVs in services and promised to upgrade its existing gas station network with hydrogen dispensers and build up to 300 new HRS Hydrogen Refueling Stations countrywide in 2025.
Fig. 1: Chinese Fuel Cell Roadmap
After the decade from 2008 to 2018, Chinese government encouraged investments in the acquisition of fuel cell stack production technologies by forming joint-ventures with US, Canadian and UK suppliers, C-OEM & Chinese companies are turning now to Japanese & German partners to close technology gap for upgrade fuel cell components such as in AIT Air Intake subsystems (smart humidifier, passenger car super-compact grade air compressor) and for highly-automated, modularized bipolar plate production and large-volume stacking solutions.
FCEV Market Insights/forecasts need a reliable source base
FCEV statistics in China are hard to get, sometimes neither accurate nor complete, owing to the low production & sales and park unit numbers and its still niche market characteristics.
abc FCI Fuel Cell Insights team choose a holistic and comprehensive approach to analyze different data sources and viewpoints to derive FCEV insights and predict future market and technology trends for the commercial public and goods transportation, including
FCEV Production and Sales data for 2019
China has manufactured about 3,018 FCEV in 2019, which is a year-on-year increase of 86.41% published by Institute of Industrial and Hydrogen Research (GGII) on 9th January 2020. The accumulated H2 fuel cell installed energy (capacity) has reached 128.06 MW, a Y-o-Y increase of 140%.
GGII also see development of annual sales of FCEV in line with production expansion. The output of fuel cell vehicles in 2019 has increased significantly compared to 2018, driven by increasing demand by local governments and commercial fleet operators.
As for December 2019 alone, Chinese FCEV maker assembled 1,418 FCEV, nearly half of the output of the whole year. Owing to the uncertainties of continued government FCEV subsidies for OEM and increased demand, industry partner along value chain made huge efforts to churn out as much as possible FC drivetrain components and churn out as much as possible electric vehicles.
Fig. 2: 2015 - 2019 FCEV sales and CAGR %
Breaking down the FCEV production of 3,018 units, 1,335 units or 44,2% were FC buses and 1,683 FC trucks (55,8%). The majority of produced FCEV were dedicated to light- and medium heavy (6t - 15t) fuel cell empowered electric trucks in China.
Fig. 3: 2019 FCEV production breakdown
CAAM production & sales data 1-11/2019
As to CAAM China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China produced 1,426 units fuel cell vehicles and sold 1,337 (Δ 89 units) units such vehicles from January to November this year, up by 398.6% and 375.8% respectively. So GGII and CAAM data seems to be consistent from as general perspective.
The Chinese fuel cell vehicle industry is gaining traction, especially the fuel cell bus segment owing to strong an favorable government support policies and subsidies of 500,000 RMB (64.000 EUR) for a heavy-duty commercial vehicle or public bus.
2019 Fuel Cell Vehicles Registration/Insurance
In fact, not all produced FCEV which have been sold (from OEM to dealership and to final customer) and got a license plate and vehicle insurance. From anconsumer market perspective (business case!) , only retail sale counts and can be a basis to indepth analytics. To get a real park picture - what type of fuel cell vehicles we can monitor on the roads in China, we make use of registration/insurance data for 2019. These data reveal itemized breakdown and detailed information of C-OEM, registration type, FCEV segment, model name and model code operating on Chinese motorways and streets.
Official China insurance data for 2019 indicated that 2,145 FC electric bus and trucks have received vehicle insurance for street usage, over 70% of assembled vehicles (30% on stock) The majority have been light to medium electric hybrid trucks.
An early indication that the next wave of FCEV deployment will be in the passenger vehicle segment is the SAIC Maxus 12-seater VAN FCV80 with over 300 new license plates.
Fig. 4: 2019 FCEV complete insurance data set
Fig. 5: 2019 FCEV insurance data segment breakdown
2019 MIIT Production Permits Overview
Since early 2018, a total number of 176 fuel cell vehicles have got production approval, including 72 fuel cell bus models (70%); 29 bus OEM got green light to produce fuel cell buses.
Fig. 6: 2019 Model volume OEM Ranking production approval
Among these, Yutong 宇通客车took the first position with 9 approved fuel cell bus models, Zhong Tong bus 中通客车and Sunlong/Shenlong 申龙with each eight buses model approval and Foshan Feichi 佛山飞驰客车, ranks third with six fuel cell bus models.
2018 MIIT Production Permits Fuel Cel Bus Model and Key Specs
The 2018 list of fuel cell vehicles production approval of MIIT Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's "Recommended Models for the Promotion and Application of New Energy Vehicles" included 17 OEM with and 74 effective models.
Among them, fuel cell bus OEM are the most popular, with a total of 16 bus OEM introducing 55 different fuel cell buses to the Chinese and international market.
On Sept. 6th, 2018 the China Bus network published list an updated list of 21 Chinese Fuel Cell new by MIIT approved bus models incl. low-floor city, company shuttle bus/van and passenger tourist buses:
Fig. 7: Q3FY19 Fuel Cell Bus model approvals by MIIT
From this 21 fuel cell bus models, five have a been noted with a long driving-range in Hybrid-mode:
The recent report released by GGII on January, 9th 2020 published a Top 5 ranking of fuel cell bus brands in terms of production data:
Production Top-5 Ranking of FC Bus maker 2019:
- Shanghai/Shanghai SAIC Maxus 上汽大通
- Zhengzhou/Henan Yutong Bus 宇通客车
- Foshan/Guangdong Feichi Automobile 佛山飞驰客车
- Xiamen/Fujian Golden Dragon夏门金旅 (厦门金龙旅行车有限公司)
(Xiamen/Fujian King Long 厦门金龙联合汽车工业有限公司)
- Shanghai/Shanghai Shenlong Bus 上海申龙客车
These five companies assembled 941 H2 FC buses, accounting for 70.49% of the total production
Fig 8: Top 5 FC Bus Model Production China 2019
Fuel cell bus on the road in Chinese cities
From January to November, Shanghai put 302 units fuel cell buses on its road, ranking the first place among all cities in China with the number accounting for 35.49% of the total number of such vehicles newly put in operation in China. On 27th September 2018, six units of Sunwin FC city buses have been delivered to Jiading public transport and started trial operations as bus line 114 in Jiading district of Shanghai. SAIC has delivered 20 FCV80 VAN shuttle bus to the Shanghai Chemical Industry zone for trial run.
Foshan city/Guangdong province ranks the second place in China by putting 115 units fuel cell buses in operation, accounting for 13.51% of the total number of newly operating fuel cell buses in China.
Zhangjiakou and Nanyang followed with the number of their fuel cell buses in operation this year reaching 100 units and 72 units respectively. Beijing and Jiaxing stand at the fifth place and both cities put 50 units fuel cell buses in operation this year.
On January 26th, 2018 74 units fuel cell buses successfully won the bids for Zhangjiakou city’s bus procurement bidding. Four bus makers attended the bidding. After several rounds of intense competition, Foton won an order of 49 units Foton AUV 10.5-meter fuel cell buses and Yutong won 25 units 12-meter fuel cell buses. All the 74 units vehicles are scheduled to hit the roads in Zhangjiakou early 2019. 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, which Zhangjiakou is a co-host city, will provide a great opportunity for the commercialization of fuel cell buses in China and across the world.
Hydrogen fuel buses and hydrogen fuel logistics vehicles have been operating already in Xi'an city Shaanxi province and Rugao city/Jiangsu province.
Xiamen Golden Dragon received in Sept 2019 an order for 100 FC buses from Jiashan county/Zhejiang province with a total value for 148,6 mio RMB (19,6 Mio EUR à ≈ 200.000 EUR/FC bus). The order includes 80 units of 8.5m FC bus and 20 units of 12m FC bus to be delivered in 2020. Driving range is 500km and refilling time 10 to 15min only. 40 FCV80 Maxus are in operation in Fushun city, Liaoning province.