HELSINKI (Xinhua) — With a striking charging plug pattern on its side, the blue-and-white bus runs quietly, making almost zero noise. Looking carefully, one may spot the Chinese logos on the car glass.
Since August this year, residents in the capital region of Finland have often encountered such new “guys” when they travel by bus.
Being the first batch of pure electric buses in operation in Finland, the 33 buses produced by China’s Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co. Ltd have met the requirements of Finnish authorities, participants in a media visit held in Helsinki on Monday were told.
The buses were introduced to Finland by Pohjolan Liikenne, one of Finland’s largest public transport operators.
“China is very advanced in the development and production of electric buses. Our partner Yutong is the world’s largest manufacturer of electric buses,” Heikki Alanko, managing director of Pohjolan Liikenne, told journalists.
“The battery of the electric bus produced by Yutong has good performance, large storage capacity and fast charging speed. According to our estimation, after full charge, it can support at least 200 kilometers of driving even under harsh conditions,” said Alanko.
“Our drivers gave pretty good feedback on driving Yutong pure electric buses. The passengers also praised them for the comfort and low noise,” Alanko said. “We are very satisfied.”
According to Alanko, more than a year ago, the Helsinki Region Transportation Authority, which is responsible for maintaining the public transportation network of nine cities in the capital area, tendered the first batch of pure electric buses. Yutong’s products were selected by Pohjolan Liikenne, one of the bidders, for their outstanding quality, and finally got recognized by the government.
“The government and the Helsinki Regional Transportation Authority have strict control over the quality of public transport vehicles. Pure electric buses by Yutong met our requirements in terms of model size, comfort, energy consumption, safety and follow-up services,” Johanna Nyberg, head of city traffic of Espoo in the Helsinki region, said.
Pure electric buses produced in China will also play an important role in helping Finland save energy, reduce emissions and promote green travel.
According to Nyberg, several cities in the Helsinki region, including Espoo, plan to increase the proportion of zero-carbon public transport to 30 percent within five years, and reach 100 percent zero-carbon emissions in public transport system by 2030.
The arrival of the pure electric buses “will optimize our bus system,” marking an important step towards green travel in cities, Nyberg said.
Ma Kai, Nordic market project manager at Yutong, told Xinhua that in light of the long, cold and snowy winters in Finland, Pohjolan Liikenne was very concerned about the performance of the buses.
Representatives of the Finnish bus operator “came to Harbin (the capital of Heilogjiang, China’s northernmost province), which has a similar winter climate as Finland, for testing our products, and finally were convinced by the quality,” said Ma.
Ma said Yutong representatives had visited Finland many times before winning the contract with Pohjolan Liikenne.
“Yutong attaches great importance to follow-up services and sets up commissioners for overseas customers to ensure vehicle operation and provides skills training,” said Ma.
Yutong is a Chinese bus manufacturer that has an excellent track record in the new energy bus industry. The publicity department of Yutong told Xinhua that as of July 2019, the company had sold 120,000 new energy buses worldwide, including more than 8,000 in Europe. In 2018, its large and medium-sized passenger vehicles had a global market share of 13 percent.
“The development of our new energy bus business is largely due to China’s vigorous promotion of new energy vehicle research and development (R&D) and production in the past few years. The forward-looking policies have enabled us to touch the pulse of the industry, accumulate a wealth of experience and get our technical strength enhanced,” Ma said