Chinese automobile and batteries manufacturer BYD Company Ltd. signed two separate agreements with Chong Ou Direct Bus Services Limited and gaming operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. possibly bringing 25 of the company’s electric buses to the MSAR.
BYD signed a purchase deal with Chong Ou for five 10.6-metre C8 electric coaches, while Galaxy signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a three-month trial of 20 buses pending an option to purchase.
“Macau is in a good position to implement a pure electric transportation system and we are honoured Macau has chosen to partner BYD to make this a reality,” the General Manager of BYD Asia Pacific Auto Sales Division, Liu Xueliang, said yesterday at the signing ceremony.
According to BYD Senior Regional Manager for Hong Kong and Macau, Henry Yip, the electric buses will arrive in the city in the next “four to six months”, with the models in question priced at an average HK$2.1 million (US$294,218).
BYD C8 electric buses can travel more than 250 kilometres on a full charge, with the recharge taking four hours, company information reveals.
Mr. Yip said BYD would fully support the installation of the company’s electric charging solutions but that the number of stations installed would depend upon the requests of the MSAR Government and the signing companies.
Third time is the charm
The MSAR has already seen two electric buses trial in recent years, with BYD having brought an electric bus for a trial period in 2013 as part of a local government programme to test the implementation of green technology.
In 2016, bus transport companies TCM and Nova Era introduced two electric bus routes as part of a 30-day trial, with the MSAR Government supporting the vehicles’ MOP600,000 rental.
Despite applauding the recent initiative, the President of the Association for Passenger and Cargo Direct Transport between Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau told Business Daily that the previous trials failed to result in actual implementation of electric buses due to government inaction and the high price of the vehicles.
“I don’t see the government take any action to lower the numbers of vehicles or air pollution […] We’re trying to pass the government’s concerns to the government,” Mr.Lee said.
As of June this year, there were 243,570 licensed vehicles in the MSAR, 1.9 per cent less when compared to the same period of last year. However, the number of newly licensed vehicles in the first half of the year went up by 6 per cent year-on-year.
According to the businessman there were no previous agreements, due to the Macau market being too small and with “the cost of electric cars or buses being too high compared to regular vehicles . . . An electric bus can cost around MOP2.3 million, while a diesel bus can cost MOP800.000 . . . The charging time [four hours] is also long. How can a company like Galaxy keep rolling its shuttle service?”
Mr. Lee told Business Daily his association is negotiating with BYD about the possibility of local companies renting the buses rather than purchasing them, while looking for other electric vehicle companies providing shorter charging periods “more suitable for Macau’s situation”.