New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced it will be investing $552.8m in buying 205 battery-electric buses and 224 clean diesel buses. This push from the MTA stems from its target of having an all-electric bus fleet by 2040. Currently, it has a bus fleet of 5,840 with c1,300 being low-emission hybrid buses and 15 electric buses. Thus, this investment is the first critical step towards hitting that 2040 target. The MTA is also improving and upgrading 13 of its subway and Staten Island Railway stations across all 5 boroughs.
The RAC has released data that shows the UK government missed its target for high-powered chargers on motorways, in 2023. The UK Department for Transport stated in 2022, that every motorway service station, in England, would have at least 6 chargers of above 50kW by the end of 2023. However, only 39% (46/113) of motorway services have achieved (or surpassed) that target. Interestingly, there has been a significant ramp-up in rapid chargers, since April, as there were only 23 sites (23%) that hit that target. However, there are now more than 400 ultra-rapid chargers at services, thus meaning c55% of service stations offer some of the fastest possible charging speeds to EV drivers. Data also shows that the UK (until November 2023) has 53,029 charging devices of which 9,992 (19%) are rapid or ultra-rapid. Bear in mind that the government has stated that by 2030, c300,000 public chargers of all speeds along with more than 6,000 high-powered chargers (by 2035) are needed to service the (projected) ramp-up in EV usage. The UK election will be called by the end of the year (latest), and we believe ramping up EV adoption and EV charging infrastructure will be key points on every party's manifesto. We expect going forward these policy tailwinds will help facilitate the EV ramp-up in the coming year(s).
Bright Bus, a business unit of McGill’s, has announced it has opened a new service, the Airport Express route, going to Edinburgh and Edinburgh Airport. This service will challenge the incumbent Airlink 100 (by Lothian Buses) however this is good news for consumers as Bright Bus is offering cheaper fares. For example, an adult single at £4 and a return at £6.50 vs Airlink’s £5.50 and £8. Bear in mind, that McGill’s is the largest independent bus operator in Scotland and has been growing strongly organically and through strategic acquisitions. Bright Bus was an acquisition from First Bus East Scotland in 2022. This also illustrates that bus operators feel confident in an increase in bus patronage going forward.
The Italian government is in the midst of formulating a £1bn plan to help ramp up EV sales. Interestingly, the government is (potentially) focussing on supporting low-income families with the EV transition. Allegedly, under this proposal, there will be financial incentives worth as much as €13,750 to allow citizens with an annual income lower than €30,000 to scrap their Euro 2 models, (which are more than 20 years old) in favour of EVs. The government intends to present this plan to OEM representatives at a meeting, pencilled in for the 1st of February. Bear in mind, that Italy has one of the oldest car fleets, in Europe, along with an EV market share that is materially lower in comparison to other major European countries.
Even though Tesla had an exceptional Q4, delivering 484,507 EVs (beating analyst consensus of 483,173), it lost out to BYD. BYD sold 526,409 fully electric vehicles, thus overtaking Tesla to become the world’s best-selling EV maker for the first time. This is a monumental achievement for the Chinese OEM, which many thought would never happen. Bear in mind, although BYD beat Tesla in Q4 23, overall, for 2023 Tesla retains its top spot, as it delivered more than 1.8m fully electric vehicles, compared to BYD's 1.4m (plug-in hybrid) EVs. 2024 will be an interesting year for both companies, as BYD has to navigate the tricky EU anti-subsidy probe and Tesla trying to ramp up Cybertruck sales in a highly competitive US truck market. In 2023, Tesla continuously cut prices (and offered other incentives) to ramp up sales, as it favoured volume over margin, however, it is unclear if it will carry this strategy into 2024.
Plug Power has announced it has fully installed a 1MW proton exchange membrane electrolyser at Amazon’s Colorado fulfilment centre. This will be used to help power c225 hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift trucks, as the hydrogen produced (by the electrolyser) will be compressed on-site and stored in a gaseous hydrogen storage tank for use by the forklift trucks. Bear in mind, that Plug Power and Amazon have collaborated on many projects previously, which has resulted in deploying more than 17,000 fuel cells in forklifts, across more than 80 centres, so we expect more news flow on more collaborations this coming year.
The new eligibility for tax credits stipulations by the US Treasury have come into force, starting from 01/01/24. This has resulted in the number of EV models that qualify for IRA credits (up to $7.500) falling from 43 to 19. This is due to new battery sourcing requirements, to make the EV supply chain less dependent on China. However, the number of qualifying models may increase (slightly) as some OEMs have not submitted information on eligible vehicles. For example, Tesla’s Cybertruck is not on the list however the company is confident that it will likely qualify for the tax credit later on in 2024. Other automakers, such as Volkswagen and Nissan are working hard to meet the new tax credit requirements, as it has a material impact on sales.
Taqa, Abu Dhabi’s national energy company, has announced it will be investing c$10bn on a 6GW green hydrogen project, based in Dakhla-Oued Eddahab. This region, in recent times, has attracted a lot of FDI (c$22bn) for renewable energy projects, ranging from green hydrogen to wind & solar. However, all of these projects are in the very early stages of development, with companies waiting for the Moroccan government to release its Hydrogen Offer report, essentially outlining incentives and subsidies for such projects.
Swap Energy, an Indonesian-based EV charging infrastructure startup, has announced it has raised c$22m in a Series A round. This round was led by Qiming Ventures, with GGV Capital Asia and Ondine Capital also participating. This startup focuses on EV charging infrastructure for electric 2-3 wheelers. Interestingly, the startup is experiencing some policy tailwinds, as the Indonesian government eased EV import taxes in December, last year. The capital raised will be used to scale up its product offering(s) and increase its brand awareness.