Young engineers design first M’sian electric bus


KUALA LUMPUR: An electric bus will start operation in the capital city by the middle of 2017.

What makes the electric bus special is that it is the first of its kind in Malaysia and an ingenious product of 30 young engineers from local universities.

The idea to create this green technology came as a result of its high demand in the market and low maintenance as compared to conventional buses.

Sync R&D Sdn Bhd Chief Operating Officer Nurulhanom Laham said the success was impressive as they were still new to technological development and engineering technology owned by China.

“There has actually been a high demand from bus operators, but its supply and electric vehicle facilities, such as charging stations, are limited, she told Bernama recently.

This project that began in 2011, had been patented as EBIM (Elektrik Bas Inovasi Malaysia).

Nurulhanom said the electrical bus was capable of saving the bus operator’s cost operation up to 60 per cent, saving more than RM300 million a year compared to the use of diesel energy.

The electric bus was made in accordance with the specifications and standards set by the Road Transport Department and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe that enabled its safe operation on roads.

“Currently, it is in its final stage of testing and certification to ensure that the vehicle components are at its best state, safe and fulfils the required standard before it is marketed,” she said.

The technology of its battery is capable of moving a bus for a distance of 200 kilometres, making it on par with the average trips made by buses in a daily operation..

The design process, at an estimated cost of RM30 million, will be fully completed this August and expected to be in full operation by the middle of 2017.

Meanwhile, one of engineers involved, Mohd Elyas Ariff Shaibudin, 28, a Universiti Malaya mechanical engineering graduate, said although they had no experience in the design of electrical buses, it did not prevent them from using the best of skills acquired from their universities.

However, without proper guidance from experts, it would have been harder for them to produce the innovation, but the opportunity had also motivated young engineers like him to think critically and creatively.

Meanwhile, Nizamuddin Daud, 28, said among the challenges faced included the lack of references since electrical bus engineering is still new.

“Although we conducted many trial runs that failed, but as a team, we successfully overcame the obstacles,” he said.