Johor Baru bus and body manufacturer inks deal to deliver 140 EV school buses to California

JOHOR BARU: A Johor Baru-based bus and bus body manufacturer is expected to deliver 140 units of fully-electric school buses to California, United States of America (USA) this year.

Gemilang International Ltd (GML) chairman and chief executive officer Pang Chong Yong said the order of the buses was a major breakthrough for the US market.

"It is also the largest quantity from a single order of electric vehicle (EV) buses that the company has ever received," he said in a statement.

Pang said the order of the 140 units of EV buses comprising 120 units of 12-m length of school buses and 20 units of 7.5m-length school buses.

"The EV school bus market in the USA is enormous with an exponential growth aspect," he said.

Pang said this was a result of the recently-announced Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) which was signed by US President Joe Biden, committing RM2.5bil (RM10.5bil) to buy electric school buses for districts in the US.

"With the new plan to convert all 500,000 school buses there to zero emission vehicles, we are confident to capture more market share with our three decades of industry experience as well as our main competitive edge," he said.

Pang said the company's main competitive advantage was the aluminium lightweight superstructure adding the company focuses only on building environmentally-friendly bus and bus bodies, and have been using aluminium body solutions for more than 20 years.

He said the lightweight, corrosion-free technology originated from Switzerland and has been proven by the company’s customers from more than 50 countries.

"Usually, our buses last longer and are deemed to be safer than steel-bodied counterparts and this has helped us to expand our footprint in the US market," said Pang.

He said the company had designed and manufactured bus bodies and assembled buses for over 30 years.

Among its notable projects recently include the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT), Sarawak’s first electric city bus for Kuching Metro and an electric bus pilot project by the Sabah government for public transport.

Pang said the company had also been supplying aluminium buses for Go KL, Rapid Kl, Rapid Penang and MRT feeder buses for the last 13 years.

He said the Hong Kong-listed GML had been supplying EV buses to the US since 2016, while the market there was still predominantly using fossil fuel powered vehicles.

"In fact, we have been supplying bus bodies for various EV makers such as BYD and CRRC to several markets including Malaysia, Singapore and Australia since 2015," said Pang.

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