Mexico City has added a fleet of 63 Chinese-made electric trolleybuses to its public transportation system, taking one more step toward electromobility.
The buses, made by Yutong, the largest public transportation company in China, began circulating along Eje Central, one of the city’s main arteries of the city, as of Jan. 8.
The new trolleybuses are part of Mexico City’s Trolebici project, which aims to improve cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in the city through a total investment of 656 million pesos (around $35 million).
In an interview, Mexico City Electric Transport Service General Director Guillermo Calderón said that the arrival of the Chinese vehicles represents the biggest change to the network in decades.
“Mexico City’s last trolleybus acquisition was 22 years ago, so this purchase is very important because it radically changes users’ experience of the journey,” he said.
The new trolleybuses, with inside batteries, are able to cover 75 kilometers when the cables are not in operation.
Given that Mexico City is one of the most-polluted urban areas in the world, according to the World Air Quality Index, the new trolleybuses’ eco-friendly zero emission is an important advantage as well.
The trolleys contain special areas for the disabled and the elderly, as well as for women and children.
The vehicles also have more comfortable seats, with a total capacity of between 84 and 90 passengers.
Thus far, the trolleybuses on Eje Central have an average of 69,000 users per day.
The city’s secretary of mobility, Andres Lajous, said that the Chinese-made vehicles represented the best value for a city looking to better manage the mobility of its large population.
The trolleybuses fit Mexico City’s plan to change its transportation network, as “they consume less electricity, they have obstacle detectors and they have special alarms that alert the driver to cyclists,” Lajous said.
Ren Wenhui, commercial manager of Yutong in Mexico, said that Mexico City is the first place where the company’s trolleybuses are used in Latin America, though the company’s electric and gas buses are already present on the streets of Aguascalientes in central Mexico, as well as in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
“I am confident that there will be more (Latin American) clients in the future,” he said.
Yutong, which currently produces about 70,000 trolleybuses a year, predicts sales of around 1,000 buses annually in Mexico over the course of the next five years.