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Electric buses will save more than $10m over their life span – minister

The new fleet of the electric public buses (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Government has made an estimated saving on fuel costs of $135,000 since electric buses were introduced to the fleet nine months ago, the transport minister said.

Wayne Furbert, who gave an update on the fleet to MPs, said the savings were “enough to fund a brand new electric bus”.

Mr Furbert also outlined the environmental benefits of running the fleet in place of diesel engine vehicles.

He referenced research by the Rocky Mountain Institute which the Government partnered with to research and pioneer a pathway to a sustainable transportation future in Bermuda.

Mr Furbert said the research indicated that during the first eight months of operation the Government saved the same amount of fuel that is consumed on two eight-hour transatlantic flights.

He added: “The reduced emissions to the environment, just by operating the 30 electric buses as opposed to the diesel buses, equates to removing 480 internal combustion engine passenger cars from Bermuda’s roads.

“In the past nine months, 45 per cent less carbon emissions have entered the local environment due to the change, an estimated reduction of 450 tons in the first year.”

Mr Furbert said that the diesel buses, which had to be designed specifically for Bermuda, historically cost the Government $334,000 to purchase whereas a new electric bus from the Golden Dragon Bus Company costs $132,000 landed.

He said savings were also made in operation and maintenance costs of 48 per cent and that the first 30 electric buses will save the Government a total of $10.6m over their 12-year life span.

He added: “Additional savings are anticipated when the new 60 bus charging facility is commissioned at the Fort Langton depot later this year.

“Currently, four electric bus charging stations with dual connections are installed at the Department of Public Transportation Dockyard depot, plus four at St George’s depot and two at the Fort Langton headquarters,” he said.

“You may have observed that the headquarters are under construction in tandem with the Belco trenching along Palmetto Road.

“The Government has taken the opportunity to optimise efficiencies by connecting with the Belco substation on Frog Lane, providing the department with a tremendous boost in secure underground access to the electric transmission network.

“The purpose of the trenching on site is the 30 additional dual charging stations that will be installed, powering 60 electric bus charging bays.

“The installation of a new solar PV system on the roof of the bus garage and the use of programmable charging management software will make way for an efficient charging strategy, which will affect even more energy cost saving.”

Mr Furbert said an online survey carried out in December indicated that 80 per cent of respondents approved of the buses.

He said The Ministry of Transport had recently confirmed a second order of 40 electric buses from Xiamen Golden Dragon Bus Company which will bring the bus fleet to 70 per cent electric.

The new buses are the same model as those already on the island, but with a 40 per cent larger battery capacity, extending operating range from 112 miles to 155 miles per charge.

Mr Furbert said preparations are being made for the full fleet to become electric, adding: “The staff are continually developed for the transition to a complete electric fleet of buses.

“A full complement of DPT mechanics have completed electric vehicle maintenance training in the United Kingdom, to the Institute of the Motor Industry Level 3 and Level-4 Standard, with continuing technical support from the electric bus manufacturer.”

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Published February 03, 2023 at 11:34 am (Updated February 04, 2023 at 4:45 pm)

Electric buses will save more than $10m over their life span – minister

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