Liberty to promote electric buses in UAE


By Kevin Scott, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Liberty Automobiles has been appointed the exclusive dealer in the UAE for the world’s first electric buses.

The company, a leading General Motors dealer in the region, will represent the US-based DesignLine Corporation as it markets the new-concept green vehicles across the UAE.

Two of the 100 per cent electric buses, known as the Eco-Smart I, are already in daily operation on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island.

The buses are used to ferry guests to and from the Desert Island Resort and Spa by Anantara.

Daily operation

However, Liberty is keen to introduce the electric and hybrid buses into the UAE’s various public transport networks.

Duncan Peat, Managing Director of Liberty Automobiles Company, said: “We are keen to talk with airlines, airport authorities, tourism authorities, and the various public transport authorities in the UAE regarding the introduction of electric and hybrid buses.

“A demonstrator unit of the electric bus is scheduled to arrive in the UAE in 4-5 weeks and will go on display to potential customers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

“It is a unique vehicle because it is 100 per cent electric with zero emissions. The hybrid bus is already being used on public transport routes in various cities around the world.”

DesignLine says it is the world’s first and only manufacturer whose 100 per cent electric, zero-emission buses are in daily operation, adding that they run up to 160km on a single charge.

Vishnu Muralidharan, Senior Research Analyst for Automotive and Transportation Practice at Frost & Sullivan, said: “Cities across the world are working towards reducing vehicular emissions and improving air quality; zero emission buses help achieve these objectives.


“Public transit authorities understand the benefits of an electric fleet but the battery cost remains the biggest hurdle. For the Middle East to attract hybrid and electric buses, it is important that government authorities provide the necessary financial incentives or other forms of support.

“The Middle East presents lucrative potential for electric and hybrid buses and we expect to see other manufacturers enter this market soon.”

DesignLine buses are already being used in various cities across the globe including New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Auckland and Melbourne.

Brad Glosson, CEO of DesignLine Corporation USA, said: “DesignLine electric vehicles are the world’s only zero-emission vehicles that are deployed for daily passenger service, proving that we don’t just make concept buses.”

“Our batteries are easy to charge and are fully recyclable at the end of their life.

“DesignLife believes there are abundant opportunities for operational expansion in the Middle East with potential buyers in the region showing keen interest in our electric and hybrid bus technology.”