Taipei, May 18 (CNA) The Environmental Protection Administration(EPA) displayed two electric buses at a seminar in Taipei Wednesday,saying that such vehicles are the key to building a low-carbonhomeland.
The EPA has been pushing for the use of electric buses in thecountry's mass transportation system, said EPA Minister Stephen Shen,noting that two electric buses began operating in New Taipei City onMay 13.
The buses were built by a Taiwan company -- RAC Electric VehiclesInc.
"The green transportation project is part of the 'cradle tocradle' concept that features environmental sustainability, " saidShen said at the seminar.
Through similar projects that encourage the replication andgrowth of low-carbon communities, Shen said, the EPA hopes that sixlow-carbon cities will be established in Taiwan in the next fiveyears.
However, business operators at the seminar said there are stilltechnical and operational obstacles to launching a commercialelectric bus service.
Raymond Tsai, president of RAC Electric Vehicles, said the costof the buses and the batteries for powering them is too high.
"An electric bus could cost as much as NT$12 million(US$415,940)," he said, adding there is also room for improvement interms of battery life.
In addition, before electric buses could be put into wideservice, there has to be an extensive network of accessible powerpoints, he said.
To solve that problem, Shen proposed a battery swapping system,in which electric vehicle manufacturers, battery suppliers and busoperators can work together to reduce costs.
Batteries could be maintained and circulated within the system,which would allow for more flexibility in the operation of theelectric buses, he suggested.
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)