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BYD bus manufacturing facility in Shaanxi Province, China. Photo: Visual China Group via Getty Images

Electric buses are set to command the bus market worldwide by the late 2020s — and, in 2040, they could make up 80% of the global municipal bus fleet, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Why it matters: While personal electric vehicle penetration has grown more slowly than many advocates hoped, buses are a more practical means of achieving greater levels of implementation across the world. According to BNEF, nearly all electric buses will have a lower cost of ownership than conventional buses by next year.

BYD is the world's largest electrical vehicle manufacturer, and Bobby Hill, the company's VP of North American sales, spoke to Axios about their growth.

The big picture: China has invested more in electric buses than any other nation, accounting for 99% of global e-bus purchases in 2017. According to Hill, China was just the right place for the technology to take off. "The air quality has been bad for years," he said, "and the government and cities found that it could be rapidly improved if they removed emissions from the largest vehicles on the road." In Shenzhen, China, where BYD is based, 100% of public buses are electric, the first city to attain that goal.

Yes, but: The LA Times published an exposé in May detailing poor performance by BYD buses operating in the Los Angeles metro area. BYD has disputed nearly all of the claims, but the article has slowed implementation in other cities. Indianapolis reconsidered electric bus deployment, and natural gas vehicle makers have seized the opportunity to criticize the technology. Hill admitted that there have been problems with buses, but argued that's natural for a new technology, adding that BYD's batteries are covered by a 12-year warranty and faulty buses are serviced and improved.

  • Despite the speed bumps in the U.S. market, BYD expects they and other electric manufacturers will benefit from money that will be made available from the VW settlement fund, much of which is earmarked for low or no-emission vehicles. According to Hill, "Everyone building electric buses is going to get very busy."

What's next: By 2040, Bloomberg projects that electric vehicles and buses will increase the global electricity demand by 6%. That's why Hill says they're investing so heavily in energy storage for renewables and working to charge strategically in order to mitigate demand charges. But that kind of demand increase on a global scale will require a great deal more electricity suppliers to come online in the coming years.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 27 mins ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Team Italy crosses the finish line ahead of American Fred Kerley in the men's 100m final on day nine of the Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

🚨: IOC "looking into" American Raven Saunders' Olympic podium gesture

🏃🏾: Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs: Reconnecting with U.S. father "gave me the desire to win" Olympic 100m sprint race.

🥇High jumpers persuade Olympic officials to let them share gold

🏌️‍♂️: Golfer Xander Schauffele wins gold for U.S. by one shot

🤸🏿‍♀️: Simone Biles won't compete in Olympic floor finals, individual vault or uneven bars

🏳️‍⚧️: Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletesTrans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Updated 39 mins ago - Sports

IOC "looking into" American Raven Saunders' Olympic podium gesture

Team USA's Raven Saunders gestures on the podium with her silver medal after competing in the women's shot put event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee is "looking into" U.S. shot-putter Raven Saunders' gesture on the Tokyo Games podium after she won a silver medal, IOC spokesperson Mark Adams told reporters Monday.

Why it matters: Saunders told AP she placed her hands above her head in an "X" formation while on the podium to stand up for "oppressed" people. The IOC has banned protests during the Tokyo Games.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympic sprint champ Jacobs: Reconnecting with U.S. dad "gave me desire" to win

Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the men's 100m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Italy's surprise 100-meters Olympic gold medalist Lamont Marcell Jacobs opened up Sunday about how reconnecting with his American father over the past year has helped spur him on.

What he's saying: The Texas-born sprinter told reporters after setting a European record of 9.80 seconds to win gold in Sunday's event that getting back in touch with his father "gave me the desire, the speed, that something more that helped me being here and win the Olympics."