Dan Public Transportation Co. Ltd. launched last week Israel's first electric bus on the Number 5 route in Tel Aviv. Last week's inauguration ceremony came nearly a year after Dan, which serves Tel Aviv and its suburbs, signed a deal with BYD to purchase some 700 buses.
The Israeli firm has earmarked 400 million NIS (about 111 million US dollars) to replace a quarter of its current fleet of 1,300 diesel guzzlers with the electric model over the next five years, according to a press release.
The 12-metre long BYD electric bus is able to run 250 km (155 miles) on a single charge in urban conditions. This allows a travelling range that is sufficient for one whole shift in the majority of Dan’s routes. Recharging takes 4-5 hours. The long range and relatively short recharging time will allow Dan to operate the bus as part of its network of routes.
The BYD electric bus features many world leading technologies: the Fe battery (Iron Phosphate battery) fitted in the BYD electric bus boasts the highest safety, longest service life and most environmentally-friendly rechargeable chemistry and contains no heavy metals or toxic electrolytes;
The internally developed rear drive axle installed in the BYD electric bus is one of the core technologies of BYD's electric buses. The rear drive axle system integrates the wheel-hub drive and regenerative braking technologies. The AC charging system is BYD's own newly developed technology for its electric vehicles. Since the AC charging system has a direct connection to the grid, it can not only charge the batteries but also transmit electricity into the grid from the batteries.
The importation of electric buses in Israel is highly supported and encouraged by various governmental ministries, headed by Israeli transportation minister, Mr. Israel Kats, who guided the Ministry of Transportation to remove restrictions that may delay the process of importation.
Dan says that it will invest over NIS 400 million in electric buses over the next five to six years, to convert a quarter of its fleet to electric buses. It added that the maintenance cost of the electric business is 25% less than the maintenance cost of diesel buses, and the cost of energy per kilometer is a third of a diesel bus.