The CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project sites of Limassol (Cyprus) and Rethymno (Greece) received a prestigious visitor in December 2018 all the way from China: the Shenzhen Bus Group (SZBG).
With a fleet of over 12,500 e-vehicles, SZBG is the world’s largest electric bus and taxi company. Their visit, which lasted from 6-11 December, forms part of the project's China-EU cross-fertilisation activities.
The trip has laid the foundations for future collaboration and knowledge exchange on innovative public transport services, e-mobility, and automated transportation.
From 6-7 December, the delegation visited Limassol. High-ranking SZBG representatives met with the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works of Cyprus, the Limassol and Nicosia public transport companies, the Intercity Bus Company, the Cyprus Commissioner of the Environment and members of the Limassol Tourism Board. They discussed about potential future collaboration and the upcoming Cyprus public transport tender in 2020.
From 10-11 December, the SZBG group were in Rethymno. In a series of workshops, Rethymno Municipality’s Technical Department and the Municipal Sustainable Mobility Agency presented mobility solutions developed under DESTINATIONS, including a dockless e-bike sharing system and the region's first EV charging stations.
SZBG presented its innovative approach to demand services, smart transportation and IT systems.
Members of the Chambers of Commerce, local transport companies, the vice Governor of Crete, the Mayor and Vice Mayors of Rethymno were also present.
On 10 December, SZBG visited the Technical University of Crete (TUC). The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems Lab (CIVITAS Destinations partner) explained the impact assessment framework and Life Cycle Assessment of e-bus operations in Rethymno.
In addition, the challenges related to advancing e-mobility - still at an embryonic stage in Greece - were discussed. These include high procurement costs, no state incentives, and non-interconnected areas to the national electricity grid. An innovative Traffic Flow Modeling Control System (developed by the Dynamic System Simulations Lab) and prototype zero-emission vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel/batteries (developed by the Intelligent Systems and Robotics Lab) were also presented.
SZBG's trip to Europe was coordinated by GV21, the DESTINATIONS partner leading on China cross-fertilization activities.
Last year's visits are only the beginning. SZBG is planning visits to other CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project sites in 2019: Elba (Italy) on 9-10 April; Valletta (Malta) on 15-16 April and Funchal (Portugal) and Las Palmas (Spain) on 4-9 November.
Visit the CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project page here.
Photo credit: Rethymno Municpality