For the first time in Israel: 25 clean energy buses for Haifa

Source: KKL Israel

Twenty-five electric Egged buses are launched in Haifa, as part of the Clean Car Revolution advanced by KKL-JNF and the Israeli Ministry for Protection of the Environment to reduce air pollution levels in Israel. This fleet promises to be the first of many more around the country.

“The launching of 25 electric buses in Haifa is the beginning of an environmental revolution, as KKL-JNF continues its journey as the largest and most influential green organization in Israel.”
This was the message of KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar at the ceremony that marked the launching of Israel’s first urban electric buses, which took place at the Egged Bus Terminal in Kiryat Haim, Haifa. Egged is an Israeli public transport cooperative, and is the largest provider of public transport in the country.
“We see great importance in elevating the quality of life in Israel by improving our surrounding environment and the air we breathe,” Atar continued.  “Reducing polluting emissions from vehicles will enable Israeli citizens to live healthier lives.”
The first 25 new electric buses, which are scheduled to begin operation on suburban routes in Haifa and the Krayot within two weeks, were standing proudly on display, with the word “e-bus” painted prominently along the side.
Present at the ceremony were also: Transport Minister Israel Katz; Minister for the Protection of the Environment Zeev Elkin, Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, and Chairman of the Egged Bus Cooperative Avi Friedman.
A special terminal to charge the electric buses was constructed in the Haifa Bay area. Each 12 meter-long bus can travel at a top speed of 80 km/h and will need 4-5 hours to charge from near empty to full.
Egged Chairman Avi Friedman said that the new buses will be the first vehicles in Israel that will be absolutely pollutant free.
“The arrival of the electric buses propel Egged into new era, which promises to leave the old far behind.”
The purchase of the vehicles was made possible thanks to the ‘Clean Car Revolution’, a comprehensive program of KKL-JNF and the Ministry of Environmental Protection to reduce air pollution in urban areas by promoting environmentally friendly transportation. KKL-JNF is the main funder of the program, which has a budget of 20 million shekels. The Ministry of the Environment subsidized each bus to sum of 330,000 NIS, the price differential between a regular diesel bus and a clean electric bus.

Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin said that until now, all Israeli bus fleets have been powered by diesel engines which, according to the World Health Organization, have proven to be the source of ever-present man-made carcinogens in population centers around the world.
“That has to stop!” Elkin declared. “Air pollution from transportation is one of the biggest environmental threats to the Israeli public. The goal of this important project is to integrate electric buses in all public transport fleets. The money we invest together with KKL-JNF will significantly help reduce airborne toxicity.”
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav, who is battling to lower pollution levels in his city – the highest in the country – and is the rallying point of growing environmental activism, said that he is thrilled to be part of this project.
“Today the Haifa Municipality is implementing another phase of the national program for clean air in Haifa, thanks to the much needed assistance from KKL-JNF and the government.”
Seventeen of the buses were manufactured in China by the BYD Company, which is one of the most prominent manufacturers of electric vehicles in the world. The rest were manufactured by the Chinese Golden Dragon company. Several senior BYD executives were also present at the launch ceremony. Most of that company’s output is earmarked for the local Chinese market, but now Israel is also on its customer list.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz said that the 25 buses on display are the first of  many more to come.
“The new buses enter service today as part of the government’s policy to introduce alternative energy for the propulsion of public transport. The use of these buses will promote a healthier environment all around, and a smoother and quieter ride for commuters.”
“The Clean Car Revolution” is one of the projects KKL-JNF is leading in Israel together with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, under its initiative KKL Linshom (“Easy to Breathe”). The project, which is aimed at reducing air pollution and improving the quality of life for Israeli citizens, has an overall budget of 75 million shekels, and is comprised of four programs: encouraging taxi drivers to switch to hybrid taxis; promoting electric car-sharing programs; helping bus companies increase the number of electric buses in Israel; and providing filters for garbage trucks, which have been singled out as one of the main causes of vehicular pollution in large population centers.
At the end of the ceremony, the participants got to experience the buses for themselves:  Egged Chairman Avi Friedman invited his guests to embark on their first commute on an e-bus.