There is a swanky new public bus on the roads of Abu Dhabi. No, it's not the driverless vehicle yet, but a made-in-UAE electric bus. The 'E-Bus' is on a trial run and starts from the Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal, covering Al Wahda Mall, World Trade Centre, Corniche Street, the Founder's Memorial and Marina Mall.
Information boards with timings are now placed at bus stops, which indicate that the E-Bus could soon be rolled out to the public.
Officials from Masdar and the Department of Transport (DoT) told Khaleej Times the results from the trial run were "very promising" and the big announcement will happen soon.
Abdulla Ahmed Balalaa, Masdar Director of Real Estate Development and Asset Management, said the E-Bus is yet another sustainability initiative in the transport sector.
"We are considered pioneers of sustainability developers in the region and one of the most sustainable developers in the world. Masdar is a lab where all new and fascinating ideas are born and take shape. We have more than 20 research and development projects. This is the R&D hub of the Abu Dhabi Government and the UAE."
On the trial of E-Bus, Balalaa said: "We are doing technical testing. I can't give a time (for the launch) as this initiative is in collaboration with the DoT, but I can assure that the results from the testing were fascinating. That's the good news till now. We now need to formalise things with the DoT to run the vehicle on the roads for public use."
Pilot test almost complete
Ibrahim Sarhan Al Hamoudi, Acting Executive Director, Surface Transport Sector at the DoT, said the pilot project is still ongoing but the public will be able to take a ride "very soon".
"The safety requirements in the vehicle are among the best in the world. The technology is viable with some enhancements. With the pilot getting close to complete, we think such a technology can be made available very soon to the public. We are still testing and can't comment on a date or plan before understanding the limitations and potentials of this vehicle. But it will be very soon."
More e-vehicles soon
Yousuf Baselaib, Executive Director, Sustainable Real Estate, Masdar, said the vehicle lunched during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January is "100 per cent made in Abu Dhabi". He said the feedback from testing has been "very encouraging".
"We got good data. Now, we are focusing more on the cost. Soon, more buses will be in the market based on the data we are collecting. The bus is running on the streets. The only thing is that we are focusing on the cost and distance."
He said the E-Bus is the way forward for e-cars. And in a bid to stay competitive, Masdar is doing a "lot of tests" to make batteries last longer.
"In the UAE, we have a very harsh weather. So we are doing a lot of research on batteries. Technology is evolving. We are doing some testing with international organisations here in Masdar. This will be a breakthrough in renewable energy. We have more than seven electric charging stations in Abu Dhabi. By next month, we are going to partner with a car manufacturing company."
>Abu Dhabi Bus Terminal
>Al Wahda Mall
>World Trade Centre
>The Founder's Memorial
The E-Bus is Abu Dhabi's step towards sustainable mobility
> It is zero-emission bus designed for hot climates
> 150km range per charge
> It is made of lightweight aluminium body
> It uses temperature-resistant, water-cool batteries located at its rear to enhance space efficiency.
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