Monday, July 05, 2021

GABS launches SA's first electric bus

Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS), who recently celebrated their 160th anniversary, officially launched the first active electric bus in South Africa, at its depot in Montana, Cape Town on Monday.

GABS has partnered with BYD (bus manufacturer) and uYilo (co-funding) to test two 100% electric buses for a 12-month period.

The project started in 2017 with the pilot installation of two solar plants of 25kWp each.

‘’The results were encouraging and ultimately led to two of its facilities being declared carbon neutral in 2020,’’ says Daylinn Mitchell, WC Transport & Public Works MEC, who was at the launch.

 ‘’Sufficient testing has now been done to comfortably take the next big step. As of July 2021, the two electric buses have been incorporated into Golden Arrow’s day-to-day operations, carrying passengers between Retreat and Cape Town,’’ he added.

GABS has come under attack on numerous occasions as criminals rob passengers and drivers from their belongings.

“My Department endorses innovation programmes such as this one given the challenges experienced by our commuters in the absence of the passenger rail system.”

 “The narrative around safety on Golden Arrow busses is very different. After taking a ride in this bus, I am confident passengers will feel safe during their journey,” said MEC Mitchell.

 Golden Arrow Engineer, Gideon Neethling said the testing phase of the electric bus has been rigorous.

 “For the first few months we tested the buses in a range of circumstances without passengers. The aim was to get to know exactly how these vehicles perform before incorporating them into our operations. Testing these vehicles has been a joy for everyone who is part of the project. Each time we carry out a new test or reach a new milestone, the level of excitement increases further,” said Neethling.

Neethling added that there is much to be learned about the new bus including electricity usage under different conditions, charge time between trips, possible scheduling challenges as a result of charge times, maintenance needs, battery degradation and other general operational challenges compared to the currently used internal combustion engine.

PIC: GABS Francois Meyer with Transport & Public Works MEC, Daylinn Mitchell


Done By: Mitchum George


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