Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched a trial run of two electric buses, branded Volvo 7900.
The two buses will shuttle on a specific path in both directions between La Mer South, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Street and Al Sufouh Tram Station. The launch is coordinated with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Volvo Bus Company, Meraas Real Estate, and ABB Group, leader in the electric bus charging industry. The step reflects the RTA’s efforts to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly mass transit means.
The two buses are fitted with Opportunity Charging technology, which is experimented with for the first time in Dubai. A standing electric charger is supplied by ABB Group Buses at La Mer South to charge the buses. Al Quoz Bus Depot provides a night electric charger to run the night charging when the two buses are out of service. Therefore, buses can be electrically charged either through pantograph using a standing arm under which the bus is parked at La Mer, or cables connecting direct and alternate currents (DC and AC).
Each bus is equipped with modern batteries that enable it to travel 200 km when fully charged. The length of the distance travelled depends on several factors such as the terrain, temperature, and the operation of air conditioners. Each bus has 38 seats in addition to three foldable seats, a place for People of Determination, and an interactive display screen.
During the trial period, which will continue until March 2022, the RTA will measure the operational efficiency of the two electric buses and experiment with the charging of electric buses using the charger at La Mer and the overnight charger at the Al Quoz Bus Depot. It will train drivers on the electric bus and familiarise them with the bus system. It will also train controllers on monitoring the bus and the charging unit. The RTA will work with project partners to ensure the readiness of buses, charging units, and the charging station.
The RTA converted 50 percent of the total Dubai Taxi fleet into environmentally-friendly hybrid vehicles in 2020. It intends to convert the entire taxi fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles by 2027. In December 2019, it launched the trial run of the first hydrogen taxi in the Middle East and deployed it as a limo service at the Dubai International Airport.