Malta's privately-owned Zarb Coaches Ltd. has taken a progressive step by investing in four fully-electric coaches produced by China's Yutong, and expects to start using them very soon to reduce emissions and upgrade its vehicle fleet.
VALLETTA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's fully electric vehicles can help Malta reduce its emissions, the owner of a local passenger transportation company told Xinhua recently.
Emanuel Zarb, chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director of Zarb Coaches Ltd., has taken a progressive step by investing in four fully-electric coaches produced by China's Yutong. He said he expected to start using them very soon as part of his company's efforts to reduce emissions and upgrade the vehicle fleet.
With these environment-friendly fully electric coaches, "we will surely reduce emissions on the roads," he said.
These new coaches -- 12 meters in length and accommodating 51 passengers along with a driver -- have already arrived in Malta from Zhengzhou, the capital city of central China's Henan Province, where the major global bus and coach manufacturer Yutong Group is headquartered.
Zarb said his company is currently in the process of registering these coaches with the Maltese authorities.
He said that his company is among the first privately owned business entities to import fully electric coaches into Malta. Although some 30 Chinese electric buses are already running across the country, they primarily serve public transportation needs.
Earlier this year, Zarb started looking into importing electric buses from China. Around six months ago he visited Yutong's factory in Zhengzhou, where he was well-received and given all the information he needed.
Zarb said after comprehensive research, he found that Yutong coaches are "the biggest, the best and the most advantageous" when compared to others.
With the support of subsidies for electric vehicles from the Maltese government and the availability of China's electric vehicles, Zarb has expedited the process of upgrading his vehicle fleet.
He said that his company was set up by his grandfather in 1947 with just one coach. When his father operated the company, they had six coaches, but now the fleet has grown to 25 coaches since he took over. These vehicles all run on diesel and are used to transport school children in the morning and then tourists during the day. The company also owns and operates 25 mini buses and 25 taxies.
Zarb said his company is also in discussions with Yutong on the purchase of smaller fully electric coaches that accommodate up to 30 passengers, which would be easier to manoeuver along the country's narrow streets.
"In the future, we may invest in more," he said, adding that "Yutong coaches are a little more expensive, because they are better than the others. I do not go for the cheap, because I need something good."
Zarb visited China for the first time around 25 years ago, when he started importing Chinese minibuses to Malta. He said that he plans to import fully electric Yutong minibuses early next year.
More people would be interested in buying electric vehicles from China, he said, noting that Chinese electric vehicle brands, such as MG and BYD cars, have already been imported into Malta.
"I am trying to find a good Chinese electric car brand that is not yet present in Malta," he said, adding that he has already contacted a few manufacturers.
Noting that his company has "good collaboration" with Yutong, he said: "I am now a Yutong agent, so I can sell to other companies."
"I like to work with Chinese companies. They are very good, honest people and trustworthy. In business, if there's no trust, there is nothing," Zarb added.