Abu Dhabi launches Middle East’s first electric passenger bus

The all-electric Eco-Bus was jointly developed by green energy company Masdar, technology company Siemens, local bus manufacturer Hafilat and Abu Dhabi’s transport authority. (WAM)
Updated 08 January 2019
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Abu Dhabi launches Middle East’s first electric passenger bus

  • Masdar has already invested $8.5 billion in renewable energy projects nationally and abroad
  • The bus will offer free service until March

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi has launched the first fully electric passenger bus in the Middle East, as the UAE capital ramps up efforts to meet its clean energy target by 2021.

The all-electric Eco-Bus was jointly developed by green energy company Masdar, technology company Siemens, local bus manufacturer Hafilat and the emirate’s transport authority, a report from state news agency WAM said.

Masdar, wholly-owned by Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala Investment Company, has already invested $8.5 billion in renewable energy projects nationally and abroad. The electric bus is expected to help the country achieve its 27 percent clean energy target by 2021.

The Eco-Bus can seat up to 30 passengers, and every battery charge will last 150 kilometers. The vehicle uses solar panels to power the auxiliary systems, and is also specially designed to endure the heat and humidity in the country. The bus, which will offer free service until March, will operate on a six-stop route from Marina Mall and Masdar City.

The initiative was part of efforts to promote the use of sustainable and intelligent transport modes, and making it a part of the daily lives of public transport users, a statement from the developers said.


New envoy stresses need for UN-backed solution to Syria war

Updated 18 min 42 sec ago
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New envoy stresses need for UN-backed solution to Syria war

  • Pedersen is the fourth UN envoy to seek a solution to Syria's conflict
  • Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since the war started with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011

DAMASCUS: The new UN envoy to Syria ended his first visit to the war-torn country Thursday, stressing the need for a UN-brokered political solution to the eight-year conflict.
Geir Pedersen, a seasoned Norwegian diplomat, concluded his three-day visit and headed to the Lebanese capital Beirut, a UN source told AFP.
The new envoy on Twitter late Wednesday said he had a "constructive meeting" with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem during his stay in Damascus.
During it, he stressed the need for a "Syrian-led and -owned political solution facilitated by the UN", he added.
Pedersen, who started his new job last week, is the fourth UN envoy to seek a solution to Syria's conflict, after endless rounds of failed UN-brokered peace talks.
In recent years, UN-led efforts have been overshadowed by separate negotiations led by regime allies Russia and Iran, as well as rebel backer Turkey.
After Damascus, Pederson said he was off to meet the Syrian Negotiations Committee, Syria's main opposition group.
But he "agreed to come back to Damascus on a regular basis to discuss commonalities and progress on points of disagreement", he added.
On Tuesday, Muallem expressed Syria's "readiness to cooperate with him... in his mission to facilitate Syrian-Syrian dialogue with the objective of reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis", a foreign ministry statement said.
Pederson takes over from Staffan de Mistura, a Swiss-Italian diplomat who stepped down at the end of last year over "personal reasons".
Officials in the government of President Bashar al-Assad had set the tone for the new envoy's tenure shortly after his appointment was announced in October.
"Syria will cooperate with the new UN envoy Geir Pedersen provided he avoids the methods of his predecessor," Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad said.
De Mistura ended his four-year tenure with an abortive push to form a committee tasked with drawing up a post-war constitution.
Syria's war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since the war started with the repression of anti-government protests in 2011.
With key military backing from Russia, Assad's forces have retaken large parts of Syria from rebels and extremists, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.
A drive to bring the Syrian regime back into the Arab fold also seems underway, with the UAE reopening their embassy in Damascus last month.