On Tuesday morning, the country’s first fully electric bus made its debut in Tel Aviv, which proponents hailed as the opening of a new era in public transportation, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The made-in-China orange bus on Dan’s Number No. 5 route is a low-floor vehicle 36 feet long with a driving range of about 250 miles, using a battery that takes only about four to five hours to recharge.
“Today begins a new era in the vision of public transportation,” said Dan chairman Michael Nagar and CEO Shmuel Rafaeli in a joint statement at a Tel Aviv launch ceremony.
“The experience of a quiet and comfortable ride on an electric bus revolutionizes the customer experience, and we intend to enable this experience for all Dan passengers across Israel.”
Dan projects that 25 percent of its fleet will be electric within five years, at an investment of about NIS 400 million. But the long-run savings will be significant. The maintenance of electric buses costs about 25% less than that of the diesel buses currently in service in Israel. In addition, the energy cost per mile while operating an electric bus is about a third of the costs associated with the fuel necessary for the same diesel-powered journey, the company said.
The Chinese maker BYD’s technology utilizes a lithium iron phosphate battery adapted for electrical vehicle use, and lasts for up to 6,000 cycles. The battery and its charger together cost about $400,000. Operating on an alternating current, the battery is able to plug directly into the national electricity grid if necessary.