Made-in-China buses roll deeper into Europe on wave of innovation

Updated 2017-08-23 10:00:17 Xinhua

Europeans are chasing a new fashion to take China-designed new energy coaches as a fresh means of transportation as Europe strengthens its efforts to fight gas emission.

Amid fierce competition, Chinese new energy car manufacturers have won favor from European clients thanks to their fashionable look, reliable quality and reasonable prices.

In 2016, China manufactured and sold over 28 million vehicles, ranked No. 1 globally for eight consecutive years. More importantly, the annual production of new energy vehicles in China has surpassed 517,000, with the BYD, for instance, exporting its coaches and battery technology to more than 50 countries around the world.

BIG SUCCESS IN BRITAIN

Chinese carmaker BYD has succeeded in deploying its electric coaches in London, Liverpool and Nottingham since it partnered with the Britain's biggest coach manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) in 2015 and got an initial order of 51 buses from the London transport authority.

At Waterloo station in central London, passengers are lining up to take Bus 521, one of the routes in London with green buses powered by BYD battery and technology.

"It's quite cool. It's a lot quicker and a lot nicer than the tube... It should be a better option over others who move on the transportation," said Lora Jarrett who enjoys taking such buses.

Dan Gill, another commuter who has been taking this bus for about two years, said he strongly favored electric buses for environmental concerns.

"It is smooth and comfortable... It is clearly a lot better for the local environment, in terms of the pollution compared to diesel ones." Gill said, adding that he looks forward to more electric buses in London.

"We believe that the BYD's battery and related technology are state of the art currently and importantly are well proven in thousands of their pure electric buses in service around the world," John Trayner, general manager of British public transportation operator Go-Ahead, told Xinhua.

Trayner said his company is satisfied with the performance of these coaches and it just ordered another 47 buses following the last contract in 2015.

According to the BYD, the company has already received orders for 201 electric coaches in the Britain, and the BYD's electric buses have taken up 70 percent of electric coaches in London and 43 percent in Britain.

"The combination of the BYD's electric power-train and batteries and the ADL's bodywork provides us with high quality buses which have proved reliable in operation," said Trayner.

POPULAR BEYOND BRITAIN

It is not just in Britain that Chinese buses are welcomed. China-designed coaches have also been running on the streets of Netherlands and Bulgaria, proven to be a reliable and economical alternative for transportation.

In 2016, a batch of 110 buses from another leading Chinese bus maker, Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., was successfully delivered to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria in the southeast of Europe.

Slav Monov, executive director of Sofia autobus company Stolichen Autotransport Plc, described Chinese buses as very cost efficient, economical, safe and comfortable. A total of 110 Chinese coaches have gone into service on eight lines in Sofia.

The diesel buses order of nearly 20 million U.S. dollars was taken through a public procurement procedure, and the buses have been carrying about a quarter of the customers of Stolichen Autotransport, Monov told Xinhua.

He said the buses, made by Yutong, are a very good balanced product with the best price-quality ratio, adding his company was looking for the best price-quality ratio in order to serve a greater number of residents.

This approach was particularly important for a developing economy like Bulgaria's, Monov said.

Zdravko Dimitrov, an engineer responsible for the technical maintenance of these buses in Sofia, said, "Those coaches from China gives stable performance with full consideration for all passengers and the cost of maintenance is affordable."

WIN WITH QUALITY

The success of Chinese buses in the European market stems from high quality, advanced technology and aftersales services.

Buses from China are manufactured strictly according to the standards of the European Union where rigorous standards on vehicle emission are implemented.

"Considering the UK now is undergoing a revolution of clean air, the electric coaches from China have proved to be more economical and environment-friendly than diesel ones. In fact, the electricity those coaches need is lower than the manufacturer predicted," said Trayner.

Britain announced last month that sales of new diesel and gas cars would be banned by 2040, offering new possibilities to leading new energy car manufacturers like the BYD amid Europe's battle against the environmental pollution by the internal combustion engine.

Tim Jackson, British CEO of public transport operator RATP, said a thorough evaluation has been carried out before his company decided to select the BYD-ADL product for launching the electric operations in London.

"This would help us better fulfil the company's promise of saving energy and reducing gas emission," Jackson said.

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