A Korean left-hand-drive electric bus was spotted undergoing testing in Iskandar Puteri, Johor.
The Edison Motors New e-FIBIRD PIEV is a plug-in electric bus manufactured by Edison Motors in South Korea. Most of these buses are operating in their domestic market, with small numbers working in Kitakyushu and Kagoshima in Japan since 2014. One unit was also trialled in Bangkok in 2018-2019.
Facebook video by Mirzan Raees.
The bus’ advertising wrap mentions that it is an electric bus under trial by the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). The IRDA is presently overseeing the rollout of the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit, or IMBRT.
The Edison Motors FIBIRD bus was first launched in 2014, initially as a Euro 6 CNG bus, with an electric version later offered (dubbed e-FIBIRD). Due to changes in company ownership, older buses were launched under the Hankuk Fiber (pre-2016) or TGM (2016-2017) brand name. The first eFIBIRD electric buses were battery-swap buses supplied to Seogwipo (Jeju, South Korea) in 2016, and conventional plug-in versions were launched in 2017.
In May 2019, an updated version of the bus was released, dubbed the New e-FIBIRD. It featured a revised seating layout (incorporating standing room opposite the exit door), a different model of electric motor, and increased battery capacity (previously 163kW, now 204kWh or 272kWh).
It is noted that Edison Motors was part of a consortium aiming to establish an electric bus assembly plant in Malaysia. This was reported back in November 2019, with the consortium comprising Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii), Edison Motors Co Ltd, and an undisclosed Malaysian company.
According to MARii chief executive officer Datuk Madani Sahari, the collaboration would be utilising the expertise of MARii in telematics and electric vehicle powertrain, involve technology transfer to local electric vehicle bus manufacturers and will be a potential supplier of chassis to domestic bus builders.
IMBRT Pilot Testing Programme
Main Article: IMBRT Pilot Testing Programme
The bus will be trialled starting on 8 April 2021, as part of the IMBRT Pilot Testing Programme.
As part of the 3-month Pilot, nine bus suppliers will conduct a demonstration of the latest green bus technologies including electric and biodiesel. Buses being showcased range from 6 metres to 32 metres. A designated route along Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar between Horizon Hill and Anjung in Medini will be used.
The IMBRT plans to provide 55 feeder and 44 direct services, bringing the total network coverage to 2,051km or approximately 90% of the populated area of Iskandar Malaysia. Three main corridors of dedicated bus lanes (or ‘trunk routes’) spanning 55 km will be built, starting at JB Sentral and reaching Skudai, Tebrau, and Iskandar Puteri.
Note: these images are of the old e-FIBIRD (pre-2019), not the refreshed New e-FIBIRD being tested in Johor.
- Facebook [Accessed 6 April 2021]
- MARii partners with S. Korea to establish Malaysia’s first electric bus assembly plant | Money | Malay Mail [Accessed 6 April 2021]
- IMBRT Pilot Testing Programme Launch (facebook.com) [Accessed 6 April 2021]
- Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit project now moving into next phase | The Edge Markets [Accessed 6 April 2021]
- Feeder & Direct Routes | IMBRT [Accessed 6 April 2021]