The City of Cape Town has announced plans to add 10 low-floor electric buses to its fleet of diesel-powered MyCiTi buses in June 2017.
The City awarded a R126 million tender to Chinese manufacturer Build Your Dreams (BYD), which has supplied electric vehicles worldwide, including 51 single-decker buses to London.
The tender includes the provision of buses, auxiliary equipment, charging stations, data management centres, spare parts, technical support and training for bus drivers and mechanical staff, fleet maintenance services, and battery replacements.
Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille has prioritised resourcing locally, both for staff and components. The buses themselves are to be assembled at Blackheath in Cape Town. “This will provide local residents with job opportunities and the chance to learn new skills. We are excited about the prospect of exposing our local labour to new technology, in particular given the fact that more cities are becoming conscious of our collective duty to explore cleaner energy alternatives,” De Lille said.
The environmental benefits of electric buses include a significant reduction in Cape Town’s carbon footprint; roughly 1 080 tonnes/year of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided as a result of this project. As a result, Transport for Cape Town will earn carbon credits which the city – as a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol – can sell on the international market as well as on local emerging markets due to the current South Africa Carbon Tax Act and the carbon offset regulations.
As well as being eco-friendly (travelling at least 250km between recharges), the buses have reduced operational costs both in terms of fuel and maintenance, as there are fewer engine parts to service. The motors generate less heat, less noise and provide a much smoother ride. The project also supports the City’s initiative to reduce the number of vehicles on local roads by expanding public transport infrastructure.