DesignLine to reveal $30m joint venture partner and new factory location at Commercial Vehicles Middle East

A manufacturing facility for the world’s first and only 100% electric, zero emissions passenger bus is being established in the UAE, and production will start in January 2012. The 100,000 sq ft plant represents a $30m joint venture between DesignLine Corporation, US manufacturers of the Eco-Smart 1 electric bus, and a UAE investor.

The manufacturer and the investor are in final discussions over the project, with a number of sites under consideration. DesignLine will reveal the identity of its business partner, and the location of the plant, at Commercial Vehicles Middle East, the specialist trade exhibition taking place at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 14-16.

The company says the plant, which will create 300 jobs, 90% of these to be filled locally, will have the capacity to manufacture up to 600 Hybrid and All Electric buses per year.

The Eco-Smart 1 electric bus consumes no fossil fuels and generates zero emissions. Its significance is highlighted by research information from the International Energy Agency (IEA) which shows that CO2 emissions from the transport sector in the GCC States are some of the highest per capita in the world, underlining the need to find more sustainable forms of transport.

The Eco-Smart 1 electric bus, which can carry 29 passengers, or 22 in a VIP class configuration, is capable of travelling up to 200 kilometers on a single charge, producing savings on fuel and maintenance costs for owners and operators.

Two buses delivered to the Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) in Abu Dhabi last year are in daily operation at Sir Baniyas Island, making it the world’s first destination to have an entirely electric transportation system. The first Eco-Smart 1 bus has been in trouble free operation in Adelaide, Australia for three years.

With more potential buyers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt, special interest is expected from the travel, hospitality, and public transport sectors who are looking to diversify their transportation fleets and fulfill long-term strategies to become more eco-friendly. Many buyers will have the chance to examine the bus for the first time when it is displayed by Liberty Automobiles, DesignLine’s UAE distributor, at the Commercial Vehicles Middle East exhibition in Dubai.

"Tourism and hospitality, along with the aviation sectors such as airports and airlines, are key growth areas for DesignLine in the region," said Eyad Alaeddin, Managing Director of DesignLine Corporation Middle East.

He will be speaking at the Commercial Vehicles Conference – which runs alongside the exhibition – about the technology and future of hybrid and electric buses in the region.

"It is anticipated that we will also have the opportunity to meet with government authorities such as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai and the Department of Transport (DOT) of Abu Dhabi," said Alaeddin. "This will give us the chance to underline the potential of the Eco-Smart 1 bus to become the future of public transportation."

"According to the IEA, all six countries of the GCC rank in the top 15 in the world in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita."

Although the majority of these emissions are attributed to oil production and energy intensive desalination plants, CO2 emissions from the transport sector among the GCC States are some of the highest in the world.

The UAE emits 5,610kg CO2 per capita (20% of total CO2 emissions per capita), higher than the US (5,555kg), Canada (4,861kg), or Brazil, Russia, India and China combined (4,243kg). Qatar exhales 6,729kg per capita, while Saudi, Kuwait, and Bahrain all contribute 3,894kg, 3,940kg, and 3,997kg of CO2 per capita to the Earth’s atmosphere respectively.

"The Middle East is among the highest in the world in carbon dioxide emissions per capita, and this underlines the need to look toward a more sustainable future in all aspects of passenger transport," added Alaeddin.

Commercial Vehicles Middle East covers all types of heavy and light commercial vehicles, special vehicles, vehicle attachments, accessories, maintenance and repair services. The event was launched last year to position the UAE as a regional focal point for the commercial vehicles industry in the region.




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