SHAH ALAM: Volvo Buses will implement a trial operation of its Volvo BZL-GML Eco Range electric bus for Rapid KL’s bus service, said Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd CEO Muhammad Yazurin Sallij.

He said the trial operation is targeted to begin in July and is expected to last six months to a year. One unit of the Volvo BZL-GML Eco Range electric bus will run on Route 581, which is the Desa Tasik to LRT Bandar Tasik Selatan trip.

Volvo Buses, one of the world’s leading providers of sustainable people transport solutions, together with Gemilang International Ltd, a Malaysian home-grown manufacturer of bodywork for buses and coaches, jointly launched the all-new, flagship Volvo BZL-GML Eco Range, offering Volvo’s first and locally built electric low-floor, two-door, premium class, city bus in Malaysia.

Muhammad Yazurin said that this trial operation is to test the latest technology from Europe.

“Our company and Volvo will share the operation data, given that one of the peculiarities in Malaysia is the hot weather,” he said during a press conference after a signing ceremony between Volvo and Rapid Bus to confirm the implementation of the trial operation today.

“As of the instruction of the transport ministry, Rapid Bus’ last purchase of diesel-powered buses is the final batch before electric vehicle (EV) buses start to be implemented and according to the National Energy Transition Roadmap, the company is implementing this initiative towards the government’s direction. The plan for Rapid Bus to be full-EV will happen before 2027,” he added.

The newly launched EV bus is equipped with safety and is embedded into every aspect of the vehicle’s energy storage system, from the battery cell design, disconnect measures, battery management systems and thermal management control for damage protection.

Muhammad Yazurin said that within the company’s own buses implemented since 2017, Rapid Bus’ savings appeared to be significantly improved, nearly 30% of its savings. Costs from the government towards the company are reduced massively, in terms of powering up buses.

He stated that this transition towards EV has its critical path of upgrading every bus depot into an EV chargeable station, to receive all EV buses. The initiative from the government through the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry’s task force for EVs has facilitated many processes of the company’s efforts in implementing EV buses.

Meanwhile, Volvo Buses Malaysia country manager Marcus Mak said he believes electromobility is one of the greatest solutions that can power a better future. The introduction of the Volvo BZL-GML Eco Range will contribute significantly to a sustainable environment through zero-emission while strengthening the industry networks through increasing understanding of superior electromobility technologies.

According to the companies, the all-new electric premium city bus is poised to be a game changer that will raise the industry bar and power the progress of Malaysia’s electric bus segment, as well as hastening the achievement of a more sustainable future.