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Naol Abera was among the first passengers to board an electric bus for a recent journey from the Bole airport area to Shiro Meda in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

“It is my first time on an electric bus. I am thrilled to see electric vehicles introduced in Ethiopia. The bus is very comfortable and travels quickly, helping passengers save time,” Abera said in an interview.

An electric bus is seen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
An electric bus is seen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

All 44 seats of the bus were occupied, with six passengers standing until the shiny silver-colored EV arrived at the next bus stop. It appeared that many were unaware of the electric bus service launched in late April , which is part of Ethiopia’s efforts to promote green transport.

These electric buses are assembled by a local company called Belayneh Kindie Metal Engineering Complex, using components imported from China.

The Chinese company Golden Dragon supplies the components to the local company, which assembles both EV minibuses and 12-meter-long buses to meet the country’s growing demand for EVs, according to Besufekad Shewaye, general manager of the Ethiopian company.

“The interior design of the bus is very nice. It travels faster than a diesel-powered bus. Inside, there is good illumination and ample space,” Abera said, emphasizing that the introduction of electric buses would undoubtedly reduce air pollution and transportation shortages in the city.

The Ethiopian government has allowed duty-free importation of EV components to promote the use of EVs and facilitate technology transfer in response to a global fuel price hike and climate change.

In 2023, Ethiopia spent six billion U.S. dollars on fuel imports, with over half going toward fueling vehicles, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport and Logistics. Additionally, pollution levels in city centers due to these vehicles are reportedly alarming.

The introduction of EVs for public transportation in the country comes after the government announced plans to ban the importation of gasoline or diesel vehicles to expedite the transition to electric mobility.

Speaking recently, the electric bus driver, Mohamed Mussa, said that electric vehicles are environmentally friendly as they do not have exhaust pipes like regular gasoline-powered buses.

“The electric bus produces no noise or carbon emissions, hence no sound or air pollution,” Mussa said.

With a full battery charge, the 44-seat electric bus can travel up to 370 km depending on the use of the air conditioner and the vehicle’s load. “With a full battery charge, I can provide service all day,” Mussa noted.

Initially, the Ethiopian government planned to import about 148,000 electric automobiles and 48,555 electric buses as part of its 10-year strategic plan. However, the Ministry of Transport and Logistics recently announced that the initial 10-year plan was achieved within just the first two years of the implementation period from 2021 to 2030.

Thanks to the realization of the decade-long plan ahead of schedule, the ministry has revised the national 10-year strategic plan with a new target of importing 439,000 EVs within the reported period.

About 30 electric buses are currently being assembled at the plant in the local company. These larger electric and other luxurious buses, equipped with WiFi, will be ready for the market in two months for various government offices and public enterprises, Shewaye said.

Categories: ChinAfrica

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