The island of Aruba is located in the Caribbean Sea and has a population of slightly more than 100,000. The island is only 20 miles long and around six miles at its widest point. The small island paradise gets three-quarters of its Gross National Product (GNP) from tourism. The clean environment is one of the greatest attractions the island has to offer to visitors, and the government has been proactive in ensuring it remains as it is for as long as possible.
During the recent GREEN ARUBA Conference and the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum (CREF), the country unveiled the first long-range zero emissions bus in the Caribbean in order to reduce the emissions emitted by its fuel-based fleet.
Cities around the world are introducing public transportation with low or near zero emissions in order to combat air pollution in their cities. While the island of Aruba has a very small percentage of the population of some of the largest metropolitan cities around the world, the effort it is putting to ensure its environment is protected is commendable. Aruba is looking to power all of its public and private vehicles including cars, buses, and taxis by electricity.
The push for cleaner transportation is part of an initiative to make Aruba a fossil fuel independent nation. Currently the island is producing 15 percent renewable energy generation from wind, with projects in development for solar and biomass waste generation.
The bus is going to be supplied by BYD Company Limited, the world’s largest manufacturer of all-electric buses. The bus has a range of 155 miles on a single charge in urban condition, which is more than enough for daily public transportation. It consumes less than100 kWh per 60 miles and depending on the type of charger it can be fully charged in 3 to 6 hours.
The government is going to start by first leasing the bus until March 2014 to evaluate the performance. After the five-month test period, there will be four more buses added by 2014, with the goal of having 20 buses in service before 2020. The Ministry of transportation said the cost of the bus will be 60 percent lower than buses that use fuel, a saving of $600,000 per bus over a lifetime of greater than 12 years.
"There is a sense of urgency embraced by the leaders in Aruba to transform from a fossil-fuel-based economy to a renewable, sustainable and adaptable platform. The urgency seems to be seeded by economic reasons and then driven and supported by an environmental social conscience here. There are opportunity costs for each day that goes by that Aruba does not move to independent and domestic power sources and transportation platforms," said Micheal Austin, BYD vice president.
Edited by Alisen Downey