TRANSPORTATION MINISTER Israel Katz takes a ride yesterday in one of Tel Aviv’s new Dan electric buses..
(photo credit: DAN)
Five new entirely electric buses are to take to the streets of Tel Aviv next week, operating on the Dan company’s No. 4 route.
Running on new technology that involves supercapacitors rather than batteries, the new Chariot E-Bus vehicles have the ability to recharge rapidly between trips, saving a significant amount of time and improving quality for passengers, according to the Pan-Dan import company – a partnership between Dan and Pandom Ltd. of the Weiss Group.
The buses, launched at a ceremony at Reading Terminal on Thursday, will be operating on the No. 4 line in order to reduce pollution on Allenby Street, where thousands of buses pass through every day, the firms said.
“Our vision is to replace the entire Dan fleet of buses with electric ones, gradually, in order to enhance the quality of life and the environment of the inhabitants of the Gush Dan metropolitan region,” said Dan chairman Shmuel Rafaeli and CEO Ofer Zilbiger in a joint statement.
“Electric buses are an important stage in the transportation revolution of Gush Dan.”
Transportation Minister Israel Katz stressed that the integration of the electric buses into Tel Aviv’s transport system is part of a much larger effort being undertaken to modernize the sector across the country.
“By 2018, the State of Israel will have public transportation at the same level of most advanced countries in the world,” Katz said. “Public transportation in the Gush Dan metropolitan area is now undergoing a revolution in comparison to what existed before, in terms of availability and accessibility of buses.”
Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi, who was instrumental in the decision to operate the new buses on the No. 4 line, emphasized the importance of choosing that particular route for the vehicles. Although about 4,000 buses pass through Allenby Street each day, the roughly 20,000 pedestrians and numerous businesses that populate the area daily deserve cleaner air, she argued.
“We will continue to push, in conjunction with the operators, for the replacement of smoky bus fleets with newer and more environmental ones,” Lehavi said.
The Chariot E-Bus has already been running successfully for two years in Sofia, Bulgaria, and also recently commenced operations in Serbia and Austria, according to Pan-Dan.
While only five buses will be operating in Tel Aviv next week, another 17 are expected to join the fleet by the end of the year, the company said.
While these vehicles employ much more advanced charging technologies, they are not the first electric buses to hit the city’s streets. In August 2013, the Dan bus company introduced one electric bus, produced by the Chinese firm BYD and imported through Clal Motors, on the No. 5 line. This bus recharges at night in a Dan parking lot, requiring about four to five hours to achieve full capacity.
The Chariot E-Bus, on the other hand, can recharge quickly between journeys, in about three minutes, Pan- Dan said. In addition, due to its low weight, its electricity consumption is much less than that of other electric buses, the firm added.
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