They’re often my favorite stories to cover. Logically, the delivery of a few or even few dozen electric buses doesn’t seem extremely noteworthy. However, I’m so eager to see bus fleets electrify that the stories light me up and I jump on them. Today, we have another one of those stories, or two.
Hot & Oily Qatar
First of all, even though it’s just an order for 10 electric buses — nice, but nothing world changing — it’s the story that jumped off the page at me. Because these buses just arrived in Qatar. Qatar is not exactly a country that comes to mind when you think about cleantech, progressivism, or climate action. It’s an oil country. In fact, petroleum and natural gas account for more than 70% of the government’s revenue. Nonetheless, it’s 2021, and Qatar is starting to electrify its bus fleets. Not only that, but it was a momentous event in the eyes of the country’s leadership. And it’s just the first 10 of 741!
“HE Mr. Jassim bin Saif Al-Sulaiti, Minister of Transport and Communications, HE Dr. Eng. Saad bin Ahmed Al-Muhannadi, President of the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and Mowasalat (Karwa) Chairman, HE Mr. Hassan Abdulla Al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, HE Mr. Zhou Jian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Qatar and Mr Pengxu, MD of Yutong international attended the event in celebration of the first electric bus fleet in Qatar,” Yutong Bus Co. writes. Yes, Yutong is the company supplying the electric buses, not BYD for once. (Yutong actually outsells BYD in China, last I saw, but BYD has typically been quite dominant outside of China in the electric bus market. That said, the company claims to have sold “over 140,000 new energy buses” to date. That’s a lot. …)
“At the event, HE Mr Jassim bin Saif Al-Sulaiti performed the first-ever electric bus charging in Qatar. The arrival of this EV fleet represents a key step of Qatar’s public transportation plan 2030, said the Minister.”
You may have heard that it’s quite hot in Qatar. (Extremely hot.) Yutong assures us that the electric buses it is supplying to the country are well equipped for the heat. “The electric buses are customized to the local transport needs and weather conditions, equipped with an efficient liquid cooling system and a 350-kWh lithium iron phosphate battery — the safest technology in hot climate. When fully charged, the bus provides an average reach range of over 200km.” They also plan to improve on that, though, by setting up a factory in the region eventually.
From Hot To Cold — Finland!
Much further north, in Finland, transit operator Nobina has received delivery of 43 BYD electric buses. Shockingly, this is BYD’s first entry into Finland. The company, which says that it is the world’s and Europe’s #1 electric bus manufacturer, seems to be in almost every other European market. BYD notes that even just in Scandinavia the company has delivered or received orders for more than 500 electric buses. It’s good to see that Finland has finally opened its doors to the electric bus leader.
Like in Qatar, the good news is this is just part of a larger electric bus order. In this case, Nobina has ordered 119 electric buses — not quite 741, but not bad.
“The new fleet is being deployed on Nobina’s services in the city of Turku on Finland’s south-western coast. The remaining 76 BYD eBuses will be delivered to Nobina’s Helsinki region operation in mid-August, with models including the 50-foot bus, the best-selling 40-foot model, and the company’s high-capacity 60-foot articulated model.” This initial round of 50 buses is all the 50-foot variety. In fact, “Nobina becomes the first public transport operator in Europe to take delivery of BYD’s latest 50-foot, three-axle, low-entry eBus model. The vehicle offers a 47+3 seating capacity and a total passenger capacity in excess of 90. Latest generation BYD Iron Phosphate batteries deliver a single-charge range of 400km (250 miles) under test conditions,” BYD states.
Naturally, hundreds of electric buses is much better for cutting pollution than thousands of electric cars or bikes. “Collectively, the BYD vehicle parc in the Nordic region has clocked-up over 25-million electric kilometers (15.5 million miles), delivering an impressive 25,000-ton reduction in CO2 emissions.”
Featured image courtesy of BYD.
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