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Cape Town readies for electric buses

Read time 2min 30sec
Cape Town takes action to reduce energy consumption and emissions, as it plans to buy electric buses.
Cape Town takes action to reduce energy consumption and emissions, as it plans to buy electric buses.

As part of expanding the footprint of the MyCiTi service, Cape Town will purchase electric buses, according to mayor Patricia De Lille.

De Lille says the city will issue a tender for the procurement of electric buses for the MyCiTi service in line with the commitment to lowering carbon emissions.

"A tender for the procurement of a fleet of 12-metre electric buses is due to be advertised by the first week of February 2016," she says in a statement.

She adds: "Cities across the world will soon reach a point where alternative fuel for public transport is no longer a choice but a prerequisite, and as such, the City of Cape Town has decided to expand our current fleet of diesel buses with electric ones."

The terms of the tender specify the electric buses should be able to travel at least 250km in traffic before the batteries need recharging.

"Apart from the buses, the successful bidder must also provide the city with the charging stations for the buses and the necessary training for the bus drivers and mechanical engineers," De Lille notes.

The city is also considering electric double-decker buses for longer distance trips as they have more seating, she explains.

Clean environment

In his research paper, Anthony Dane, from the Energy Research Centre at the University of Cape Town, says as the demand for transport services is expected to grow, the industry needs to reduce its significant environmental impact and at the same time deliver improved mobility in a way that contributes towards South Africa's sustainable development objectives.

According to De Lille, Cape Town's move to issue a tender for electric buses is part of the city's Energy 2040 Strategy as well as a way to show commitment to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.

Cape Town will be the first municipality in the country to benefit from the latest alternative fuel technology and will be the first city in Africa to use electric buses for public transport, she says.

"Apart from electric buses being eco-friendly with zero carbon emissions if we use solar power charging stations, a green fleet holds numerous other advantages.

"The operational cost of electric buses is significantly lower - not only in terms of fuel, but also in relation to maintenance as there are fewer parts to service," De Lille states.

Since the launch of the MyCiTi bus service in 2010, approximately 38.5 million passenger journeys have been recorded to date.

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