Malaysian Bus Program Takes Off

Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia has launched into compressed natural gas (CNG) buses in a big way, with the country’s largest bus operator, Nadicorp Holdings, signing contracts with Samsung (Korea) for the supply of 800 CNG buses. The RM160 deal ($US43.5 million) is for the supply of 300 new CNG powered chassis from Daewoo Bus Corporation and 500 conversion systems for existing diesel powered buses.

The assembly of the new buses and the conversion of the existing buses will be done by Nadicorp subsidiary Badanbas. The first of the converted buses is expected to be on the road next month, with the remainder to be operational within 2 years.

CNG currently retails in Malaysia at 68 sen ($US0.18) per litre (equivalent) while diesel retails at RM1.43 ($US0.39) per litre. Nadicorp’s Executive Chairman, Datuk Nadzmi Mohd Salleh is quoted as saying fuel cost savings of around RM300 ($US82) per month are expected per vehicle ‘in the worst scenario’.

Refuelling infrastructure is to be provided by energy company Petronas NGV, with the number of depots to be supplied with the fuel still under consideration.

Samsung is providing finance for the contract and will also provide training and technical support for the program.

Government grants will cover RM50,000 ($US13,600) towards the cost of the new buses. Lobbying is under way to have the grants extended to newer repowered buses also.