UAE to manufacture zero-emissions bus

JV to build to US$30 million new factory

The Eco-Smart will be a rare UAE-manufactured vehicle
The Eco-Smart will be a rare UAE-manufactured vehicle

The UAE is to be the home of a new a manufacturing plant for the world’s first and, it is claimed, only 100% electric, zero emissions passenger bus.

US Manufacturer DesignLine and an undisclosed business partner will begin production in January 2012 at a new 100,000 sq ft plant. The company says the plant, which will create 300 jobs (90% of these to be filled locally) will have the capacity to manufacture up to 600 Hybrid and All Electric buses per year.

The $US30 million joint venture will be manufacture the Eco-Smart 1 electric bus, which can carry 29 passengers (or 22 in a VIP class configuration) and is capable of travelling up to 200 kilometers on a single charge which DesignLine said produces “savings on fuel and maintenance costs for owners and operators”.

The first Eco-Smart 1 bus has been in trouble free operation in Adelaide, Australia for three years and two buses are currently operating daily at Sir Baniyas Island for Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC).

DesignLine and the investor are still in final discussions over the project, with a number of sites under consideration, although it is hoped that this will be resolved by the time the business partner’s identity is announced at March’s Commercial Vehicles Middle East event in Dubai.

“Tourism and hospitality, along with the aviation sectors such as airports and airlines, are key growth areas for DesignLine in the region,” said Eyad Alaeddin, managing director of DesignLine Corporation Middle East. “The Middle East is among the highest in the world in carbon dioxide emissions per capita, and this underlines the need to look toward a more sustainable future in all aspects of passenger transport.”

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