Electric Buses

Electric Buses

7 January, 2016
At Long Last
First batch of five electric buses commence service in Hong Kong
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A two-year trial run of a government-subsidised programme aimed at improving roadside air quality kicked off last week, with the first batch of five single-deck electric buses commencing service.
 
The government is throwing about $180 million at the programme, which in total will subsidise five franchised bus companies to purchase 36 single-deck electric buses (including eight supercapacitor buses and 28 battery-electric buses) and related charging facilities for trial runs on different routes, to assess their operational performance under carrying conditions.
 
Under the subsidy scheme, New World First Bus Services and Citybus will be running 10 single-deck battery-electric buses. The first batch of five battery-electric buses have just been put into service, running on the following five routes if you want to try and spot (or even ride) one:
 
Citybus:
 
11: Central (Central Ferry Piers) to Jardine's Lookout (Circular)
12: Central (Central Ferry Piers) to Robinson Road (Circular)
25A: Wan Chai (Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Extension) to Braemar Hill (Circular)
 
New World First Bus:
 
78: Wong Chuk Hang to Wah Kwai Estate (Circular)  
81: Lai Tak Tsuen to Chai Wan (Hing Wah Estate)
 
The remaining five battery-electric buses are likely to be put into service within the next six months on the same five routes, ie, two battery-electric buses running on each route.
 
According to a government press release, other franchised bus companies are in the process of purchasing their electric buses under the programme, and preparing for installation of charging facilities, in order to hopefully be put into service progressively in 2016.
 
To monitor the trial of the electric buses, the Government will set up a task force, comprising representatives from the bus companies, the EPD and the Transport Department, as well as local experts. If the trial results are satisfactory, the government will encourage franchised bus companies to use electric buses on a larger scale, taking into account affordability for the bus companies and passengers.
 
A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said, "The trial of electric buses will last for two years in order to assess their operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness under local conditions. The EPD will carry out an interim review one year after the commencement of the trial."
 
This is not the first time fully electric buses have been trialled in Hong Kong. In 2013, Kowloon Motor Bus introduced the eBus, a Operating on Route 2 between Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Bus Terminus and So Uk, the one-month trial marked a zero-emission milestone for KMB and for Hong Kong.
 
And earlier this year, the first locally-designed electric bus, developed by the Hong Kong Productivity Council and Hong Kong Automotive Parts and Accessory Systems’ Research and Development Centre, was completed as part of a HK$40 million project funded by the government’s Innovation and Technology Fund. Sadly however, this bus went up in flames in October, in a fire that is still being investigated.
 
Trial by (literal) fire aside, it is encouraging to see both government and commercial transport franchises taking seriously the potential of electric public transport vehicles to move people around our pollution-clogged city in the future.

By: Ecozine Staff
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