Jakarta. Jakarta began to trial its first electric buses on the city’s busiest route between City Hall and the Blok M business center on Monday.
The electric buses are operated by municipally-owned land transportation company Transjakarta in collaboration with Bakrie Autoparts, the sole distributor of electric buses from Chinese automaker BYD Auto in Indonesia.
Bakrie Autoparts, a subsidiary of Bakrie & Brothers, said they plan to develop electric buses in Indonesia in stages within the next few years.
"For this initial stage, we do have to import, but we believe that the development process will be relatively fast. In the next three years, the local content level is expected to reach 55 percent,” Bakrie & Brothers managing director Anindya Bakrie said.
Transjakarta have tested electric buses before, but the Monday’s trial was the first for the buses to run under real urban road conditions. It also marked the beginning of a three-month trial before they operate in full capacity.
The trial involved two BYD K9 buses, which have a drive range of 250 kilometers on a single charge, and several smaller C6 buses that can travel 200 km when fully charged.
The K9 bus has 31 seats while C6 can house up to 24 passengers. However, as the country is battling the Covid-19 outbreak, seating capacity is reduced by a half to honor the social distancing policy.
Those buses will operate between 10.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m. every day during the trial, in which passengers won’t be charged although they are still required to tap their valid cards.
"We started entering the electric bus business in 2018, and now we have prepared steps to transfer the technology and develop electric buses locally," Bakrie Autoparts chief executive Dino Ryandi said in a statement.