MALACCA - Electric buses are set to appear in this historic city in January.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said the buses would replace the current diesel-powered coaches in stages by December.
"We are the pioneer in putting electric buses in service, and by next year, some 40 such buses are expected to be on our roads," he said after presenting Deepavali aid to more than 150 recipients at his official residence in Seri Bendahara here yesterday.
Idris said the Federal Government had allocated the budget to procure the buses.
He added that Panorama Melaka Sdn Bhd, a state government transportation subsidiary company, would operate the electric buses.
"The buses will also be a good way to promote Malacca's green technology among tourists who come from all over the world," he said.
Idris said the three-month trial run of the first electric buses had produced positive results in terms of mileage achieved before a recharge was needed.
"We are looking into the suitable routes and fares that will be imposed," he said.
Idris said the first electric bus began its trial run in Bandar Hilir in January, where passengers rode for free during the period, which went through several tourist areas such as the Stadhuys building, Heroes Square, Bukit Senjuang, Mahkota Parade and Kota Laksamana.
He said the bus, which costs RM1.35 million (S$526,000) each, could travel as far as 300km before needing a recharge and could accommodate a maximum of 60 passengers at a time.
Idris said the state government carried out a study on electric bus technology from Germany, Japan and South Korea before deciding to introduce them in the state.