September 16, 2009 09:48
Electric buses will operate on Mt. Nam starting next spring. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will launch 15 electric buses on three routes on and around Mt. Nam in April next year. The service will expand to eight buses on busy downtown streets in Yeouido and 11 in Gangnam the following September.
The new buses run on batteries that are recharged by the vehicles' spinning wheels as they coast downhill, replenishing up to 70 percent of the power consumed during uphill driving. They weigh 20 percent less than the current buses in use thanks to bodies made from high-tech materials, are 1.5 times more durable and can travel 110 km on a single battery charge.
Right now the buses operating on the Mt. Nam routes are fueled by natural gas. Although they do not emit exhaust fumes, they are noisy and discharge gases with acids that are harmful to plants.
"If the electric buses can operate smoothly on the steep and meandering Mt. Nam routes they will be expanded to other areas," said Lee In-keun of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. "And because they are quiet and don’t generate harmful gases, the urban environment will be greatly improved."
The municipal government plans to replace the approximately 7,700 buses currently in use throughout the city with eco-friendly electric or hybrid models by 2020. Doing so will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 812 tons and greenhouse gases by 140,000 tons per year.
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