Myanmar to make electric buses

Modulo electric buses will be manufactured locally under a partnership between No 1 Heavy Industry Enterprise from the Ministry of Industry, Green Power Myanmar Co Ltd, and Csepel Holding Limited of Hungary.

The Myanmar Times interviewed U Tin Maung Kyin, CEO of Green Power Myanmar Co Ltd regarding the implementation plans.

Production is planned to begin in mid-2019 and the vehicles will be exported to Sri Lanka, India and Singapore according to the contracts, he said.

The total expected number of export will be more than 7000 and with 300-500 buses made for domestic use.

The CEO went on to explain that the reason for cooperating with Hungary is due to their advanced technology and being the main manufacturer and exporter of high-standard trains and buses to Germany.

“The main point is that we know quite well about Csepel Holding Limited’s process as we’re very close with them. It is not that they offered but we invited them. Csepel is included in the top- class group of electric car producers in the world. We will receive 100 percent transfer of Modulo technology so we chose this Hungary’s Csepel Holding Limited,” he said. When production is made with Japan and China, a wholesale transfer of technology does not happen, he added.

The contract stated that 300 units will be manufactured during the first phase and production is expected to start from around April 2019. Semi Knocked Down (SKD), assembly of parts such as wheels, windshields, seats, test drive, 3D alignment and safety test will also be included. Production starts off initially with at least 50 to 60 units, with plans for 150 units per month at the end of 2019.

“There are massive technological differences between producing an electric car and electric bus. The bus is made to fit many passengers and for travelling long journeys. Electric cars can only be driven for 4-5 hours, while the electric bus must be able to operate 24 hours. So, we will focus on production of electric buses,” he explained the reasoning for manufacturing electric buses.

Five models of electric buses measuring from 6.5m one, 8.5m, 9.5m, 11.5m, and to 14.5m (which includes berths) are planned for production. Latest technologies will also be installed in them.

Regarding the battery life of the vehicles, the CEO explained that the first batch of buses can travel 350km (217.47miles). The bus travelling from Yangon to Mandalay will have to be charged as it nears Nay Pyi Taw. Construction will also made for nine charging stations, most of them solar powered, along the Yangon-Mandalay Road. A full-charge takes around 30-40 minutes, he said.

The price of the bus ranges between K200-K500 million but payment will be under a low interest seven-year installment plan by the EU. One can start driving after making a 30 percent down payment.

“After five years, the break-even point is reached and as it is insured for 10 years, one can use it for five more years,” he said.

The company will first start operating 6.5m electric buses, running from Yangon to Bago before the end of March.

The operation is a way for Green Power Myanmar to prove to customers who are anxious about the safety of the buses and sufficient electricity supply.

“There will be convenient and cheap transport. I will make one that will reduce environmental pollution for the first time,” commented U Tin Maung Kyin.

The company future plans include manufacturing HiAce cars and school bus. The school bus will be six meters in length with a maximum capacity of 17 people.

“We produce these cars to travel about 50 or 100 miles. We will continue producing them in 2019. Green Power Myanmar Co Ltd will also manufacture officially recognised ambulance,” said the CEO.

Soure: Mmtimes