5 Best Electric Bus Stocks: What Are Your Options in 2022?

The electric vehicle market has been booming, but the rapid growth hasn’t been limited to just cars. There has been a surge in electric bikes, scooters, and even buses! Learn about some options for investing in electric buses.

David Dierking   Updated May 4th, 2022

Credit: Proterra

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Should you invest in electric bus stocks?

While the electric bus market hasn’t grown nearly as quickly as the electric car market has, it’s expected to benefit from the same trend. That is the evolution away from combustion engine vehicles. Fleets of buses operate in virtually every major metropolitan area, run around the clock, and are strong polluters. While there are high costs to getting electric bus fleets up and running, there is the potential for huge emissions savings in this market.

According to Bloomberg, there were about 598,000 e-buses on the roads globally at the end of 2021. Of those, 585,000 operated in China. The number of electric buses globally is expected to grow to nearly 1.7 million in 2030.

The growth potential is certainly attractive. But, just like the rest of the EV and battery industries, electric buses are still early. Several publicly-traded companies are developing and building electric buses, but it’s a risky industry and share prices can swing wildly. These are highly valued companies, but few generate significant revenues, let alone profits, so investors should be cautious.

Public ridership has also suffered during the Covid pandemic, reducing the potential addressable market for these companies. Businesses and schools closed and people stopped commuting to work. Electric bus rollouts were delayed. Even now, a surge in infections can affect ridership and impact adoption.

How have electric bus stocks performed?

Most electric bus stocks have not done well in 2021 or 2022. A rising interest rate environment is not helping SPACs or highly valued companies with little revenue. Proterra, the best-known electric bus stock, is down from $25 a share in early 2021 to only $6 today, below the $10 price at the SPAC merger.

How to invest in electric bus stocks

There are no pure-play electric bus stocks, but a few come close. Many have the vast majority of their business dedicated to electric vehicle production, including buses, cars, and trucks. Some also develop battery technologies or make electronic components. Still, if you want to target electric buses specifically, you have several decent options.

Electric bus stock list

  • Proterra (PTRA)
  • NFI Group (NFYEF)
  • Arrival (ARVL)
  • Lion Electric (LEV)
  • GreenPower Motor Company Inc (GP)

Read more about each company.

1. Proterra (PTRA)

  • Market capitalization: $1.4 billion
  • 2022 return: -33%

Founded in 2004 and based in Burlingame, California, Proterra is North America’s #1 electric transit bus manufacturer. The “Proterra Transit” business line makes the buses, which are mostly electric city buses used for short distances. The company released its first bus in 2010.

The “Proterra Powered and Energy” line designs, develops and manufactures battery systems for other bus and truck makers. However, Proterra Transit provides 80% of the company’s revenues.

Proterra’s management expects the next five years to be huge for the company. They are targeting total revenue of $2.5 billion by 2025, a ten-fold increase from 2021 levels. They also expect 39% annual growth from the Proterra Transit division and 114% annual growth from Proterra Powered and Energy. According to the company, they have a $750 million order backlog and strategic partnerships with Daimler, Komatsu, LG Chem, and Lightning Motors.

However, Proterra continues to be unprofitable and the stock has performed poorly since the SPAC merger.

2. NFI Group (NFYEF)

  • Market capitalization: 846 million CAD
  • 2022 return: -47%

Canada-based NFI, also known as New Flyer Industries, was founded in 2005 and operates 50 facilities in nine countries. Originally a transit bus manufacturer, NFI has since acquired several companies to expand its business. Today, it not only continues to manufacture buses and motor coaches, but also offers infrastructure solutions, vehicle diagnostics, parts, service, and financing.

NFI doesn’t exclusively make electric buses, but they are a growing business line. In 2019, zero-emission buses made up 6% of all revenue generated. In 2022, NFI expects that number to be 20-25%. By 2025, the company has a goal of having zero-emission buses account for 40% of all revenue. The company also hopes to generate roughly $4 billion in revenue in 2025, an increase of nearly 80% from 2021.

NFI did experience its share of financial challenges during the pandemic. 2021 revenue is around 18% lower than in 2019 due to the COVID shutdowns and supply chain disruptions that impacted the entire industry. In 2020, the company cut its dividend by more than half due to the pandemic. It cut the dividend again by 75% in 2022 to save cash.

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3. Arrival (ARVL)

  • Market capitalization: $1.3 billion
  • 2022 return: -74%

Founded in 2015, Arrival is headquartered in London, England, and employs more than 2,000 people. It’s a pre-revenue startup still months (or longer?) away from delivering its first vehicles to customers. Arrival plans to start making vans and buses later in 2022. It’s also developing a car designed for ride-hailing services, such as Uber.

Arrival unveiled its prototype bus in November 2021; production is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2022. Last year, the company announced that it has letters of intent (LOI) for 59,000 vehicles, including a potential 20,000 vehicle order from UPS that could net the company $1 billion in revenue.

The biggest negative is that the company has been besieged by production delays and has yet to deliver a single vehicle. Its first micro-factories aren’t expected to operate at full capacity until 2023. These factors are the primary reason why the stock has performed so poorly.

4. Lion Electric (LEV)

  • Market capitalization: $1.2 billion
  • 2022 return: -39%

Lion Electric may be the closest thing to a pure electric bus play. Based in Canada, Lion specializes in manufacturing all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. These include public transit buses, school buses, semis, and garbage trucks. It has seven vehicle models available for sale today and another five planned for launch in 2022.

Lion Electric is still very early in its life cycle – it delivered just 72 vehicles in 2021 – but 2022 looks to be a year of rapid expansion. It’s set to begin production in its new 900,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the second half of 2022. It has secured over 2,150 purchase orders, which could deliver expected revenue of $575 million.

5. GreenPower Motor (GP)

  • Market capitalization: 172 million CAD
  • 2022 return: -36%

GreenPower Motor (GP) is a Canadian electric vehicle manufacturer specializing in public transport buses, school buses and specialty transportation. In addition, it offers six different cargo vehicle models. All vehicles are battery-powered and generate zero emissions. GP’s first electric bus was delivered in 2014 and the company’s California assembly facility can manufacture 200 vehicles per month.

The company is developing a strong presence in West Virginia and the East Coast. They have a lease/purchase agreement with the state of West Virginia to build an 80,000-square-foot facility in South Charleston. GP has also secured a commitment from the state to purchase $15 million in school buses.

However, this is a tiny company, both in terms of market cap and revenue. GP generated only $12 million in 2021 sales and it’s loss-making.

Electric buses are a high-growth industry, but it’s very early and few companies are generating significant revenue. If you’re looking to invest, it could be better to stick with the more established companies like NFI.

🔔 Learn about investing in electric trucks and e-bikes.

NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.

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