Trial run for Malaysia's first hybrid bus have began in Johor Bahru.
In a move towards a cleaner public transportation, Johor's largest public transport operator, Causeway Link (Handal Indah Sdn Bhd), will be the first bus operator in the region to conduct the hybrid (diesel electric) bus trial.
From 1 September 2017, the Hino hybrid bus will ply on the Iskandar Puteri free shuttle bus route IP, between Larkin Sentral and Puteri Harbour International Ferry Terminal. The bus trial is expected to last between 5 and 6 months, comprising a total of six bus routes in Johor Bahru.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 15 June 2017, between Mitsui, Medini Iskandar Malaysia, Hino Motor Sales Malaysia and Handal Indah to bring the first hybrid bus in Malaysia to Medini City.
The above 4 entities announced in a joint press release mentioned that the trial was in line with Iskandar Malaysia's Low Carbon Society Blueprint, which targets to cut down on the carbon intensity in Iskandar Malaysia by 58 per cent by 2025.
Featuring the Diesel Electric hybrid system, the Hino Blue Ribbon City Hybrid (HU8J) is operated with a combination of the battery and diesel engine. In comparison with a conventional city bus powered by diesel, the new Hybrid Vehicle (HV) system is said to reduce the fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emission.
Commonly known as the "non-step bus" in Japan, the low-entry design of the bus will provide ease of boarding and alighting, with virtually no steps from the entrance to the exit. This bus is also equipped with a wheelchair ramp from the middle door with spaces on board catered for four wheelchairs, making the bus a fully wheelchair accessible bus. Foldable seats are installed to offer more seats when the wheelchair bays are not in use.
The Hino Blue Ribbon City Hybrid buses are a common sight in Tokyo, the capital city. (as picture below)
While this is the first diesel-electric hybrid bus trial in the region, other parts of Malaysia have already begun conducting bus trials with other green technologies. For example, RapidKL in Kuala Lumpur has introduced the new BYD electric bus together with the commencement of BRT-Sunway Line since 2015. In addition, Panorama Melaka conducted trials on two brands of electric buses in 2014 and 2015 as well. Meanwhile, the Scania supercapacitor electric buses were launched recently in Putrajaya.