Cape Town’s dream of becoming the heart of Africa’s green economy got a boost on Tuesday with the announcement of an electric bus manufacturing plant that will create hundreds of jobs.
The plant will be opened in 2018 by Chinese green energy firm BYD‚ and it will also make products such as mass-transit monorail systems and solar panels.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said BYD founder and chairman Chuanfu Wang announced the opening of the factory at the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico last week.
“Earlier this year‚ following a competitive bidding process‚ the City of Cape Town awarded the contract for our first fleet of electric buses to BYD‚” said De Lille.
“One of the exciting conditions of this contract is that the buses will be partly assembled in Cape Town and BYD will also source some components from local suppliers. This will create a number of jobs and will be the first time that electric buses are assembled in Cape Town.”
Protecting the environment while creating jobs
De Lille said she asked Wang at the signing of the deal in Mexico how Cape Town could deepen its partnership with BYD.
“Mr Wang responded saying: ‘BYD is really glad to collaborate with a leading city like Cape Town in your climate action efforts. In the near future we are planning to establish a local production plant for our electric buses in Cape Town. This is not only to help protect the environment‚ but will also provide jobs to people in Cape Town’.
“This is precisely the kind of investment we want to attract and has been part of our strategy since 2012 to engage with the international community to promote Cape Town as an ideal place to invest in and to let the world know that Cape Town is open for business so that we can create much-needed jobs for our people.
“I welcome this announcement by Mr Wang as it will contribute greatly to our efforts to build an inclusive economy.”
Rechargeable buses the way of the future
BYD is the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries and China’s sixth-largest car manufacturer.
Its website says its iron phosphate battery lies “at the core of its clean energy platform‚ which has expanded into automobiles‚ buses‚ trucks‚ utility vehicles and energy storage facilities. BYD and its shareholders‚ including Warren Buffett‚ see these environmentally and economically forward products as the way of the future.”
In October‚ BYD unveiled its SkyRail monorail system at its Shenzhen base‚ describing it as a “strategic solution to counter traffic congestion in cities around the world while also offering more convenient mobility to urban residents”.
Wang said at the launch: “As a rail transport option with relatively smaller passenger capacity‚ SkyRail can complement existing public transport systems to create a layered transport system encompassing underground‚ roadway and elevated elements.
“At the same time‚ SkyRail provides urban residents with safe‚ comfortable and fast mobility while making a real difference to alleviate traffic congestion.”
SkyRail claims to be able to transport up to 30‚000 passengers an hour at up to 80km/h. “It is very applicable to small and medium sized cities‚ heavy traffic routes‚ CBDs and routes connecting tourist attractions in large cities‚” says BYD’s website.
By Dave Chambers. Source: Times Live