Important delegates attending the Aruba Green Energy Conference/Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum, (CREF) had the distinct pleasure of being transported to the opening ceremony in the Westin Aruba Resort via the maiden outing of Aruba’s first electric bus, yesterday morning.
Present to enjoy the quiet ride was the President and Founder of CREF, Jerry Butler, along with a number of island ministers and executives from the Aruba’s energy concerns. They boarded in Oranjestad, at Government House.
Minister of Tourism, Transport and Labor, Otmar Oduber, took official reception of the bus from the manufacturer’s representative, Vice President of BYD America Corp., Michael Austin. Mr. Austin turned over the keys to Minister Oduber and the Minister of Finance, Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, Mike de Meza, who then handed them to the Director of Arubus, Theo Croes.
Present of the unveiling of the bus was the Managing Director of W.E.B. Aruba N.V., the island energy and water provider, Oslin Boekhoudt. W.E.B. who was a strong motivating force behind the leasing of the bus, which W.E.B. executives feel is a vital step towards Aruba’s reduction of fuel oil consumption and CO2 emissions. Another advantage is also a noticeable reduction of noise pollution. The bus cost only .30 cents per kwh hour to run on Aruba, as compared to $1.50 for diesel fuel that would result in the same mileage.
The bus was originally one of three tested at Stanford University in California. Arubus has the vehicle on a six-month lease at nominal cost. It runs strictly on electric power, with three battery banks to hold the charge. The bus is plugged in and charged in the evenings, which only requires 3 hours to run for 24-hours, or 155 miles. Every time the driver uses the brakes, the system is also charged, “which is ideal in Aruba’s stop and go environment,” commented Mr. Austin. The “Fe” battery used is non-polluting, and the chemical materials contained in the battery can be recycled. The life-expectancy of the bus is 15-18 years, but the batteries can be used for storage from wind or solar sources.
The bus is 39.37 ft. in length, and capable of a top speed of 62 mph. The structure is low to the ground and easily accessible for disabled individuals. The simplified engine is very easy to maintain, as there is not transmission or many of the vulnerable parts that wear out easily on an internal combustion engine.
A trip on the electric bus was a most appropriate and exciting start to Aruba’s 4th Green Energy Conference, was the uniform opinion of those that experienced it. By Rosalie Klein