Vehicle manufacturer impressed with performance of Kuching’s hydrogen buses

Lee (third left) in a group photo during his visit to the hydrogen bus workshop, together with Buckland (second right), Mazli Mustaffa (fourth right), Zhou (second left) as well as other representatives from the ministry, Sarawak Metro and Feichi.

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KUCHING, Aug 17: Engineers from Foshan Feichi Automobile Manufacture Co. Ltd (Feichi) in China are impressed with the performance of the hydrogen buses which are currently under trial operations by Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd (Sarawak Metro).

Feichi is the manufacturer of the Sarawak Metro’s three hydrogen buses and until very recently, its technicians were unable to make any trips to Kuching to conduct scheduled maintenance works, due to the travel restrictions imposed by both the Malaysian and Chinese governments.

Feichi representative Kingsley Zhou Jia Dong acknowledged the admirable work done by the local technicians over the past two years in ensuring the buses were safe and roadworthy.

“Although we have not been able to be here physically in Kuching to conduct the maintenance and servicing for the past two years, we are all impressed by how the buses are performing.

“Sarawak Metro’s technical team has done a good job in taking care of the buses as all three are in very good condition,” he said in a media release today, explaining that over the past two years, Sarawak Metro’s team of local technicians were under Feichi’s continuous guidance, using digital platforms to communicate on a weekly basis.

Zhou also pointed out that despite being designed mainly for use on flat and smooth city roads, Sarawak Metro’s hydrogen buses are able to manoeuvre well in more challenging conditions, such as along some stretches of the Damai Loop route towards Damai Central.

Although strict travel restrictions are still in place in China, the three technicians were given special permission to travel and be in Kuching for a two-week work trip to conduct major scheduled maintenance works on the hydrogen buses.

Lee (third right) together with engineers and technicians from Feichi and Sarawak Metro during his visit to the hydrogen bus workshop.

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin thanked the technicians for making the trip to Kuching.

“Feichi’s presence in Kuching show that they are not merely here to service and repair the hydrogen buses but also shows their commitment in fulfilling their obligations,” Lee said during a briefing session on the hydrogen bus trial operations that was organised by Sarawak Metro here, today.

Lee expressed his belief that zero-emission vehicles are the future of transport, not only in Sarawak but all over the world, because they form an important part of global efforts to combat climate change.

“As such, I believe that it is our responsibility to gain as much knowledge as possible on how we can incorporate such vehicles to benefit the daily lives of our people here in Sarawak,” he added.

Lee also visited Sarawak Metro’s hydrogen bus workshop after the briefing session.

According to Sarawak Metro, the hydrogen bus trial operation has provided valuable insight into the workings of operating fleets of heavy hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), especially for public transport purposes.

The hydrogen bus service was introduced in January 2020 and the trial operation aims to gather data on the performance of the vehicles.

The trial operation for the hydrogen bus service is a vital part of the process of adopting new technology such as hydrogen fuel cells towards the decarbonisation of the public transport sector.

Kuching is the first city in Southeast Asia to introduce hydrogen fuel cell powered buses for public use and the introduction of the hydrogen buses also serves to prepare for the implementation of Sarawak’s future zero emission public transportation system as well as to advance the hydrogen economy agenda.

The hydrogen bus trial operation passenger services are currently temporarily halted from Aug 6 to 21 as the buses undergo major maintenance.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Datu Buckland Bangik and Sarawak Metro’s chief executive officer Mazli Mustaffa were among those present. — DayakDaily