Emirates Transport (ET), the leading transport, logistics and auto services provider, launched on Monday 6th November, the final phase of testing for the first electric-powered school bus in the region.
The 45-seater bus was manufactured in close cooperation with the Shanghai Sunwin Bus Cooperation, in one of the first projects of its kind worldwide.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman, general manager of Emirates Transport, said: “The launch of a Zero Emission school bus comes as part of our efforts to achieve the vision of the government for a green economy and puts the UAE in the forefront of such initiatives, regionally and globally.”
Al Jarman explained that the bus will operate in accordance with the specifications and regulations of school transport enforced in the country, pointing out that the application of these specifications represented the largest challenge during the manufacturing phase during which specialists from ET conducted three filed visits to the factory floor, in China, to inspect the production line to ensure the application of all applicable specifications.
In turn, technicians and specialists from Sunwin also visited the UAE to assess how the country’s climate and other conditions may impact on the performance of the bus.
The general manager of Emirates Transport stated that, in addition to the usual structural safety tests, the bus underwent operational tests for three months, followed by several preliminary operational tests in the UAE, adding that the series of tests will be concluded during the coming period under climatic and operational conditions similar to the usual conditions during the school year.
During the pilot phase, the bus will operate on full routes in conditions that accurately simulate the normal school bus’s daily journeys, as well as daily operating conditions.
Amer Al Harmoudi, executive director of ET’s Auto Services Division, said that one of the most important technical factors during the manufacturing phase was adjusting the efficiency of the air conditioning system to suit the specific climatic conditions in the country and the nature of operation in school transport.
In order to provide the supporting infrastructure for the operation of the bus, Al Harmoudi said there will be two fully integrated bus power stations, one at a location of the manufacturer’s UAE partner, Al Naboodah Group Enterprises (ANGE), and the other at an Emirates Transport bus terminal, adding that the current system is capable of fully charging the bus batteries in just 4 hours.
Fadil Atallah, manager of ET’s Technical Development Department, said that the current distance travelled by the bus is 100 km, and that is under harsh and optimum operating conditions, including maximum power operation of air conditioning systems and all other electronics, adding that the distance travelled under normal operating conditions is 150 km.
Mr. Buti Juma Al Naboodah – Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Commercial for Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, commented: “Al Naboodah Group Enterprises is a strong advocate of sustainable practices, and this is reflected in our Vision 2020. We have long since supported the use of electric vehicles in our product portfolio, and through our trusted partnerships with Emirates Transport and Sunwin, this vision is becoming a reality. This marks a great milestone for both the nation and our Group’s sustainability aims.”
Mr. Ajit Kumar – COO of Commercial, Transport and Electrical for Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, said: “Al Naboodah Group Enterprises is very proud to be associated with this prestigious project initiated by Emirates Transport and we are fully geared to provide the necessary support together with our principal Shanghai Sunwin Bus Corporation. Al Naboodah Group Enterprises is a pioneer in providing e-mobility solutions to the UAE government, as a result of our close and strategic partnerships with leading commercial vehicle manufacturers such as Sunwin.”