The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation is Getting 22 Electric Buses!

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The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation operates a fleet of about 250 buses of different types. They have 28-, 38-, and 52-seater buses. Most of them are made by TATA Motors from India. The Seychelles Nation newspaper reports that the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation’s (SPTC) fleet replacement policy stipulates that buses can only be kept in service for up to 12 years,  however, some 15-year-old buses are still in service. This results in higher operational costs and higher emissions. The paper quotes Chief Operating Officer, Jeffy Zialor, who adds that fuel consumption of the bus fleet continues to increase over the years, averaging 250,000 liters per month.

The Seychelles is a net importer of diesel, which contributes up to 20% of the country’s import bill. Diesel imports are the main driver of CO2 emissions. 95% of Seychelles’ CO2 emissions are from fossil fuel combustion for electricity and transportation. Seychelles has an installed electricity generation capacity of just under 100 MW.  About 80 MW of this is diesel generators. With about 85% of the country’s installed capacity being diesel generators in order to meet its electricity demand, fossil fuels imports make up 20% of the country’s import bill. Increasing the adoption of renewables such as solar and wind, as well as transitioning to an electric bus fleet and other electric vehicles, would go a long way in reducing the diesel import bill.

The country installed a 6 MW wind farm in 2013. The wind farm displaces about 1.6 million liters of diesel per year. Earlier this month, Seychelles switched on a 5 MW Solar PV plus 5 MW / 3.3 MWh battery storage plant which will displace another 2 million liters of diesel annually and will also displace approximately 6,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Seychelles is moving to catalyze the adoption of EVs and has set some EV adoption targets. The country has a target of at least 30% private electric vehicles by 2030 and 15.8 MW of solar PV to help support the demand for electricity. As part of a broader National Electric Mobility Project, 22 electric buses will soon join the SPTC fleet. The announcement was made at the official launch of the announcement made recently during the official launch of the electric mobility project. The electric mobility project aims to introduce more environmentally friendly transport in the Seychelles.

“The government of Seychelles recognizes that reducing dependence on fossil fuels for transport sector through low carbon transport strategies is not only desirable to reduce air pollution and GHG emissions, but also sustainable,” said Antony Derjacques, Minister for Transport. The Transport ministry says the introduction of electric buses in public transport will contribute significantly with a 15% to 30 % reduction of fuel import for transport purposes by 2030. The integration of electric buses will be part of a pilot project where observation and collection of data will be done. This data will facilitate the steering committee’s work to develop effective policy and strategy for the full transition to greener transportation.

The 22 buses are part of the demonstration projects, which are an integral part of the project proposal. The demonstration project will provide evidence of technical, financial, and environmental sustainability, enabling  SPTC to plan for scale-up of Seychelles’ electric bus bus fleet including but not being limited to the anticipated 22 electric buses as part of a government to government agreement between the China and Seychelles. It is the aim of the demonstration project to define the technical and operational specifications of e-buses suitable for the conditions found in the Seychelles, such as 1.) Passenger capacity; 2.) Engine power; 3.) Range and battery capacity; 4.) Climbing ability / grade ability; 6.) Charging equipment among other parameters, explained Mr. Geffy Zialor, Chief operations Officer for SPTC.

The 4-year project is being spearheaded by the UNEP in collaboration with the ministry of Transport. It is targeting better policy and strategy development to accommodate the current effort to transition to low carbon emission vehicles. It is also targeting enhanced technical capacity and the introduction of electric buses in public transport as means of initializing this transition.

Image courtesy of Seychelles Transport Ministry

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since.

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