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Chinese-made electric buses expected to run on Havana streets

Chinese-made electric buses are expected to run on the streets of the Cuban capital soon as Chinese bus maker Yutong unveiled such a model at the 34th International Fair of Havana Monday.

The battery-driven bus is expected to be the first of its kind to serve in the public transportation system in Latin America. Its debut at the Fair, the most important business event in the Caribbean state, generated excitement among government officials, business figures and local audience.

Ivan Chacon, director of international relations at the Cuban Ministry of Transportation, hopes the Yutong bus will soon become part of the urban bus service in Havana.

"We'll begin testing its performance, standards and its adaptation to our system. We hope the initial tests are positive and allow the country to acquire many more buses of this technology," he said.

The 35-seat vehicle has a battery capacity that allows it to travel between 250 km and 300 km at a maximum speed of 65 km per hour, with an average energy consumption at 0.84 kwh per km.

Hu Fengju, director for Yutong's overseas marketing, said the electric bus is introduced to meet the demand of Cuba, which is not rich in oil resources.

"Pure electric power could reduce reliance on oil," Hu said.

The Yutong bus will be charged at nights to reduce a waste of power during its low-consumption period in the city, he added.

"The bus is made with the most advanced technology today, the so-called green fuel because it is completely electrical and will allow us to save oil and also protect the environment," Chacon said.

Cubans hope Yutong will transfer the bus technology and localize its production.

"In this initial phase we'll promote the commercialization of the bus, but we're interested in the transfer of technology, management methods and the development of the Cuban industry to work along with Yutong and assemble this unit in the future in our country," Eloy Alvarez, deputy minister of industry, told Xinhua.

This is the newest of the over 20 types of buses Yutong has shown on the island since 2005, with nine of them currently in sales that account for 90 percent of the local market.

Cuba, along with Venezuela and Chile, is Yutong's major markets in Latin America. "Latin America is Yutong's major strategic market and Cuba is our entry point," Hu said.

Yutong's exports to Cuba range from urban buses, long-distance buses, school buses to construction heavy machinery and chassis.

The leading bus maker in China exports vehicles to more than 190 countries. As the first in China to develop new energy buses, Yutong has delivered 8,000 fully electric buses that are running in more than 140 cities.

[Source: Xinhua, Havana, 31Oct16]

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