Golden Arrow

Golden Arrow Bus Services is aiming to acquire over 60 electric buses annually. Image: Flickr

Golden Arrow’s electric buses will carry more passengers

Golden Arrow Bus Services in Cape Town have been testing a new electric bus, and the feedback from drivers and passengers has been positive.

Golden Arrow

Golden Arrow Bus Services is aiming to acquire over 60 electric buses annually. Image: Flickr

Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) has reported smooth operations during the testing phase of the Lion’s Explorer E electric bus, as well as some notable perks of the “green” vehicles.

These buses are being provided by MAN Truck & Bus South Africa (MAN SA).

A final decision on whether GABS will introduce a fleet of these electric buses is expected later this year, writes Engineering News.

Golden Arrow tests new bus on passengers too

In September, MAN SA delivered the first Lion’s Explorer E electric bus to GABS for testing purposes.

GABS’ company engineer, Gideon Neethling, said that the Explorer E was introduced to passengers in Cape Town in early February. This was after they had completed non-passenger testing.

This testing included training drivers, checking safety measures, determining the range per charge and defining charging rates.

“The energy efficiency is within our expected range of between 0.9 kWh and 1.1 kWh per kilometre,” said Neethling.

Both both driver and passenger feedback “have been really positive,” he added.

During the “ongoing” evaluation, Neethling said that GABS has not encountered any operational issues nor major concerns.

The Explorer E was specifically designed for the African market in response to GABS’ request for an electric bus suitable for South Africa’s environment.

Besides the Explorer E, GABS is also testing three electric buses from a Chinese manufacturer as part of its goal to acquire over 60 electric buses annually.

The advantages of going green

Approximately 31% of GABS’ total costs are attributed to fuel.

The 66-seater Explorer E can carry one extra passenger, compared to the equivalent diesel-powered Lion’s Explorer bus.

MAN SA says that the electric Explorer E can travel between 300 km and 350 km on a single charge. It also boasts a battery lifespan of up to 14 years, with 70% efficiency remaining at this point.

The South African arm of the German bus maker has an assembly plant in Durban. It also has a bus body plant in Gauteng.

MyCiti to open new routes, introduce electric buses

In related news, the City of Cape Town plans to have electric buses (e-buses) on its MyCiti service by 2027. This is according to Councillor Rob Quintas, the City’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility,

These buses will be integrated into MyCiTi Phase 2A. The new phase will see an extension of the bus service to connect Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha, Wynberg, and Claremont.

This marks the City’s second go at implementing zero-emission technology, after an unsuccessful attempt in 2018.