Paphos Mayor Phedon Phedonos took delivery Wednesday of the first electric bus for public use in Cyprus, which will operate a free ‘green route’ promoting the town’s main cultural venues and archaeological sites to visitors.
The outspoken mayor, who keeping with tradition got behind the wheel of the 20-seater, said that the new bus will be used during its initial testing phase to carry senior citizens, mainly between homes for the elderly and the general hospital.
At a later stage, it will operate on ‘green routes’ which were developed to promote the town’s cultural heritage and history.
The Austrian-made bus, powered by a Nissan NV e200 electric drivetrain, also has a provision to accommodate passengers with special needs.
Paphos’ mayor called on his colleagues and all public services to introduce similar eco-friendly vehicles in all towns.
“The municipality plans to immediately adapt the charging station that was delivered with the bus, to run solely on solar power, instead of electricity supply from the mainstream network that is presently generated by high-emission diesel, in order to make this a truly green bus,” Phedonos said.
The bus system was supplied by custom-builders K-Bus GmbH at a cost of €260,000 and was part of the Ecorouts programme of the EU’s Regional Development Fund “Interreg VA Greece-Cyprus 2014-2020”, from which Paphos has been allocated €336,000 for mobility projects.
The charging station will be operated by the municipality while the Electricity Authority of Cyprus only has a network of 20 points across the island, only two are in Paphos.
This is the first all-electric public bus operated in Cyprus which tops the EU list for the highest use of petrol-powered cars at 84% with electric vehicles nowhere to be seen in the transport mix.
An earlier Financial Mirror report highlighted the lack of incentives for motorists to switch to all-electric vehicles.
A motor industry expert said that short distances in Cyprus are favourable to electric vehicles with modern technology allowing for up to 80% full charge in a mere 30 minutes.
The government is also in the planning stage to encourage motorists to install subsidised solar panels on the rooftops of their homes to charge their electric cars – when they become cheap enough to be popular.