Singapore

E-buses to roll out early next year

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First batch of 60 single- and double-deck electric buses to roll out as part of trial

Commuters will have quieter and cleaner bus rides early next year as a batch of 60 electric buses, or e-buses, begin operating as part of a trial.

The e-buses - from Chinese firms Yutong and BYD and local outfit ST Engineering Land Systems - will arrive progressively from now to the first half of next year.

Due to the size of the batteries, the single- and double-deck e-buses can carry about 80 and 120 passengers respectively, about "10 per cent less" than the capacity of regular diesel buses, said a Land Transport Authority (LTA) spokesman.

LTA declined to reveal which routes the e-buses will ply, but said the smaller capacity will be taken into consideration "to minimise inconvenience to commuters" when choosing which routes to deploy them on.

The e-bus trial is meant to uncover how factors like range hold up under local traffic and weather conditions.

Another 50 diesel-electric hybrid buses are already on the road in a similar trial.

The new e-buses will be kinder to the environment than diesel ones. Deploying them results in a reduction of about 7,840 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, which LTA said is the same amount of CO2 emitted by 1,700 passenger cars.

In an experiment, LTA has also swopped a single diesel bus' engine for an electric powertrain, part of a proof-of-concept trial to determine the feasibility of converting existing diesel buses to e-buses.

There are about 5,800 buses in Singapore.

A key feature of the new e-buses is increased accessibility and user-friendliness compared with current ones.

For starters, all 60 will be equipped with colour passenger information display systems that show route-specific information like upcoming bus stops and destinations.

The front door of the 60 e-buses will also have the centre pole removed to make it easier for commuters to board with open strollers.

The Yutong and BYD buses will each have a capacity of 80 passengers, split between 28 seated and 52 standing. They both run off lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries that take between two and four hours to charge. When topped up, the buses have a range of between 200km and 300km.

The buses made by ST Engineering Land Systems were unavailable for viewing by the media.

Alongside the unveiling of the buses at the Ulu Pandan Bus Depot, 86 bus technicians also graduated under the Certification for Technical Specialist (CTS) programme.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Senior Minister of State for Transport and for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary said public satisfaction with buses has "increased steadily" since 2015 and he praised the support of bus technicians who "work tirelessly behind the scenes".

LTA said the CTS will be updated to cover training on the operation and maintenance of the new electric buses.

Transport