Electric buses will soon ply the roads in Abu Dhabi and remain on trial for six months. Image Credit: Courtesy Department of Transport

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi will soon have environmentally friendly electric buses plying the roads to transport passengers, said the Department of Transport (DOT)

Two fully electric vehicles will be released by the third week of October to obtain passenger responses within the city of Abu Dhabi and its suburbs. The trial vehicles will be in operation for six months, before the DoT determines whether they will become a permanent replacement for the currently used diesel buses.

“The benefits of this initiative are many. Firstly, these vehicles release virtually no by-product into the atmosphere. Secondly, the cost of purchase and maintenance is cheaper than the buses we currently use. They are also easier to develop as they are technologically-based. The lifespan of the electric buses is shorter by 10 per cent in comparison to the hydrocarbon vehicles we normally use, but even then we would only have to replace the battery and not the entire bus,” said Saeed Al Hameli, organisational development director at the DoT.

During the trial phase, surveys will be handed out to passengers to test the buses’ level of comfort. “We will ask questions regarding whether commuters have noticed a difference in the bus. We are expecting that bus rides will be especially convenient because of the reduced noise levels,” Al Hameli said.

According to a DoT official, the bus takes an average of four hours to be fully charged and can travel an average of 200 kilometres a day under a full load, as opposed to the 120 kilometres per day average of the current fleet.

“Around 60 per cent of feedback we are focusing on should come from the operators to see whether this mode of transportation is as effective and efficient as its counterpart. If all goes well, it will be easier and more cost-effective to expand in terms of bus routes, and we may even go further into implementing electrically powered vehicles,” Al Hameli added.

The inner-city bus will travel between Abu Dhabi Mall and Marina Mall in order to attract the largest number of passengers while the other one will take the Abu Dhabi-Bani Yas road. Four selected drivers will be trained by the manufacturer and distributor..

Tariffs for the new buses will not change unless stated otherwise.