With the launch last month of Real African Works (RAW), South Africa’s bus rapid transit (BRT) networks in the three major metropolitan municipalities of Gauteng could soon have a new vehicle supplier.
The 100-percent black-female-owned original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will partner with engine supplier Cummins, which began working with the OEM in 2016 on the development of its RAW iBus V1D model.
“We are fully prepared to offer the aftermarket support that is required. We have invested in training technicians, defining maintenance standards and procuring the correct tools and parts to ensure that once these buses are on the road they will run efficiently,” commented Gbile Adewunmi, director EBU and parts marketing, Africa for Cummins.
The Cummins ISL Euro-5 engine, which complies with the latest European regulations regarding emissions and fuel efficiency, is the engine of choice. RAW CEO, Vuyelwa Toni Penxa, revealed that the diesel-engine bus will be followed by an electric and, ultimately, a hydrogen fuel-cell prototype.
Other partners in the project include ZF for the axles and Busmark, which will build the bus-bodies.
Bombela Concession Company, which operates the Gautrain, has placed an order for 135 buses (including five electric and five hydrogen fuel-cell models) for piloting and testing.
“We truly believe that diesel alone is not the future of mobility, but that electric drivetrains and hydrogen fuel cells will gain prominence,” commented Cummins AME automotive and electrification leader, Rashi Gupta.
“Cummins has committed to investing US$ 500 million (R7,19 billion) in research and development on electric technology, with a trial bus running in California at present, and an additional roll-out planned across the United States next year.
“We believe our partnership with RAW will introduce future technology to South Africa and will allow the country to take the lead on the continent. We are very excited and passionate about this initiative,” Gupta concluded.