BYD, the world’s biggest electric vehicle maker based in Shenzhen, has secured its first major purely electric bus order in Israel.
A fleet of 17 single-decker buses will service the northern port city of Haifa, Israel’s third-largest city. The 12-meter buses will be operated by Egged, Israel’s largest bus operator with almost 3,000 buses.
The buses were sold after BYD won a tender process. The success followed trials of a BYD single decker, which had been operating in Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-largest city, since 2013. In Haifa, the new fleet is expected to cover 200 kilometers per bus per day.
Egged’s purchasing manager Nir Landau said at the launch ceremony earlier this week that the operator expected to order more electric buses from BYD in the next 18 months to raise the proportion of e-buses in the Haifa fleet to 10 percent.
“It’s the beginning of a revolution in the Haifa area, which aims to reduce pollution coming from public transportation through a planned investment of 400 million Shekels (US$121.51 million),” said Ze’ev Elkin, Israel’s minister of environmental protection.
Yisrael Katz, minister of transport, said that these buses are just the beginning and the country aims to introduce green transportation in the Haifa area and around the country. Isbrand Ho, managing director of BYD Europe, described the deal “a very significant development for BYD.”
BYD, an acronym for “Build Your Dreams,” is the world’s largest battery manufacturer and began to develop electric cars and buses in recent years. Its electric buses began operating in several Chinese cities in 2010.
In January 2013, BYD received a Whole Vehicle Type Approval for its compliance with European standards, making possible its entrance into the European market. Aside from the buses operating in China and now Israel, BYD is providing electric buses to more than 200 cities in 50 countries and regions around the world, including Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Uruguay, Colombia, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Britain and the United States.
Shenzhen is the first city in China to implement a subsidy for new-energy vehicles and the first city to launch consumer sales of the BYD e6.
The first fleet of BYD electric buses hit the road in Shenzhen in January 2011. One year later, the city laid claim to the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, announcing the addition of 1,500 EVs to their fleet of 500, bringing the grand total to 2,000 vehicles. The vehicles — 1,300 buses and 700 taxis — were all bought from BYD. The electric bus fleet has grown to nearly 15,000 this year, accounting for 0.5 percent of the city’s total registered vehicles.
The city plans to have only electric buses by the end of next month, according to the city’s public transport authorities.