Elec­tri­fied pub­lic trans­port isn't new, but the global in­crease in sus­tain­able tech­nol­ogy in­vest­ment has cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties for the devel­op­ment of elec­tric pub­lic trans­port sys­tems.

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - How Your World Works - BY NI KK Y OOSTHUIZEN BY THE FIRST QUAR­TER OF 2016, CAPE TOWN’S MYCITI

rapid tran­sit bus fleet had recorded more than 38,5 mil­lion pas­sen­ger trips since its in­au­gu­ra­tion. For the month of Novem­ber 2015 alone, more than 1,5 mil­lion trips were un­der­taken. In the com­ing months the Myciti trans­port will be adding more routes to its sched­ule, hop­ing to feed the de­mand for pub­lic trans­port. But with fos­sil fuel prices soar­ing, and in­creas­ing pres­sure to lower car­bon emis­sions, the city's lo­cal gov­ern­ment ear­lier this year an­nounced a ten­der for bat­tery pow­ered elec­tric buses to join the pub­lic trans­port fleet.

Cities across the world would soon reach a point where al­ter­na­tive fuel for pub­lic trans­port was no longer a choice, but a pre­req­ui­site, mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille said. There­fore, Cape Town has de­cided to ex­pand its ex­ist­ing fleet of diesel buses with elec­tric ones.

Last year, 195 coun­tries signed a legally bind­ing cli­mate deal dur­ing the 21st Con­fer­ence of Par­ties at the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Cli­mate Change in Paris. The agree­ment is the cul­mi­na­tion of var­i­ous plans that coun­tries will in­tro­duce to limit global warm­ing.

As part of the global change be­ing im­ple­mented by 2020, trans­port agen­cies the world over are in­ves­ti­gat­ing elec­tric bus fleets. Elec­tric buses have the po­ten­tial to curb car­bon emis­sions to aid in the sta­bil­is­ing of at­mo­spheric green­house gas con­cen­tra­tions and to as­sist in the devel­op­ment of sus­tain­able trans­port sys­tems.

One city em­brac­ing the elec­tric bus idea is Kuala Lumpur. Fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a bus-only mass tran­sit sys­tem in the city in 2012, the Malaysian Min­istry of Trans­port or­dered a fleet of 55 buses for the ini­tial phase of its elec­tric bus rapid trans­port sys­tem. The

elec­tric bus ac­qui­si­tion forms part of the coun­try's plan to re­duce car­bon emis­sions by 40 per cent by the year 2020.

KL'S first all-elec­tric buses started run­ning in June 2015 and now con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to mov­ing the city's more than one-mil­lion daily pub­lic trans­port users. These par­tic­u­lar elec­tric buses are man­u­fac­tured by Chi­nese recharge­able bat­tery and elec­tric ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer, BYD. The com­pany is one of the world's lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers of recharge­able elec­tric bat­ter­ies, and is as­sist­ing trans­port au­thor­i­ties in test­ing elec­tri­fied so­lu­tions in more than 190 cities world­wide.

Re­cently, BYD'S 18-me­tre ar­tic­u­lated elec­tric bus suc­cess­fully com­pleted a cityto-city trip of over 400 kilo­me­tres. The bus trav­elled from Bo­gota to Medellin in Colom­bia on a sin­gle bat­tery charge. Pub­lic trans­port test­ing was re­port­edly to com­mence9 from the end of March 2016.

An­other suc­cess­ful elec­tric bus im­ple­me­na­tion is the Elec­tric­ity pro­ject in Gothen­burg, Swe­den. In 2014, more than 240 mil­lion pas­sen­ger trips were recorded in Gothen­burg – a 40 per cent in­crease since 2007. In an ef­fort to meet the de­mand for pub­lic trans­port, while try­ing to ad­here to the re­quire­ments of an en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy that dic­tates that 95 per cent of all pas­sen­ger trips should be ex­e­cuted us­ing re­new­able en­ergy by 2025, the city's pub­lic trans­port agency Vast­trafik, looked to elec­tric buses. Con­cep­tu­ally the buses not only ad­here to the en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy, but also con­trib­ute to re­duced noise pol­lu­tion.

The all-elec­tric buses were de­signed by Gothen­burg-based Volvo. The buses, which started op­er­at­ing on a newly im­ple­mented route last June, hold more pas­sen­gers than their diesel equiv­a­lents, too. The Elec­tric­ity pro­ject shut­tled more than 600 000 pas­sen­gers in its first seven months.

The first com­mer­cial ver­sion of Volvo's all-elec­tric bus, the Volvo 7900 Elec­tric, was launched at the Bus­world ex­hi­bi­tion in Oc­to­ber 2015. Se­ries pro­duc­tion is sched­uled for 2017.

“We would like all pub­lic trans­port to be car­bon neu­tral – whether bio­gas or elec­tric­ity,” says the mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sioner for Gothen­burg, Jo­han Ny­hus. “We have been watch­ing this pro­ject closely – ev­ery­one in the city is be­hind it. The peo­ple of Gothen­burg care a lot about the en­vi­ron­ment and CO -neu­tral buses are

2 an im­por­tant step in the right di­rec­tion.

“In­creas­ing sus­tain­abil­ity and low­er­ing emis­sions are key – power should be clean and re­new­able. It has in­volved a lot of ef­fort from many part­ners, and the city is very proud of this pro­ject.”

Volvo's bus di­vi­sion is widen­ing its sus­tain­able ve­hi­cle fo­cus, to ac­com­mo­date ve­hi­cle main­te­nance. Glob­ally, Volvo Buses have more than 250 work­shop tech­ni­cians that are cer­ti­fied to work with elec­tric and hy­brid buses. The com­pany will also be look­ing at de­vel­op­ing its work­shops to en­hance ex­per­tise and of­fer ex­ist­ing and po­ten­tial cus­tomers more ef­fi­cient trans­port so­lu­tions and af­ter­mar­ket elec­tric bus so­lu­tions.

“The tech­nol­ogy ex­ists; the chal­lenge now is to help cities make the shift from diesel power to elec­tric,” says Volvo Group's elec­tro-mo­bil­ity drive head and ex-pres­i­dent of Volvo Buses, Håkan Karls­son. “Elec­tric-only buses can help cities achieve their tar­gets of be­ing CO2 neu­tral.”

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