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E-Bus in Central Asia: Usbekistan

One of the 20 Yutong ZK6128BEV in Tashkent | © D. Budach

The electric bus is also making its way into Uzbekistan!

Twenty ZK6128BEVG battery buses from the Chinese manufacturer Yutong have been operating in the capital Tashkent of the Central Asian country since March 2022. They gradually went into regular service and currently serve routes 51, 81 and occasionally also route 100.

They are charged exclusively at night in the depot. With a battery capacity of 374 kWh – from 12 lithium-ion battery packs – one charging cycle allows a range of more than 200 km even in very hot summer temperatures and with the A/C permanently switched on. The 12.2 m long coaches offer 32 seats and up to 51 standing places. The small curtains on the windows seem strange by Central European standards.

In the past two years, various e-bus models had already been tested in the city. The e-buses are intended to replace the widespread methane gas buses, among others.

Yutong on line 51 at the station | © D. Budach
The Yutong will be charged overnight at the depot | © D. Budach
Yutong on line 81 | © D. Budach
MAN methane gas buses in Tashkent | © D. Budach

However, all these vehicles are not the first electric buses in Tashkent, because until 2010 there was still an extensive trolley bus network here. Under political pressure, it was abandoned step by step. Since the last tram was shut down in May 2016, only diesel and methane gas buses have been serving the local transport, in addition to a large number of minibuses and minibuses – in addition to the 4 metro lines. They have to compete with the overflowing car traffic on the often six-to-eight lane city streets.

Skoda 14 Tr Trolleybus in the city centre in September 2008 | © Peter Haseldine
Tatra tram on line 13 in Tashkent, September 2008. The last tram ceased service in May 2016, but there are plans for a revival | © Peter Haseldine

A single other battery bus has recently started running in the country, in the city of Bukhara on line 68 there, having previously undergone tests in Tashkent. It is a 12-metre model from the Chinese manufacturer Zhongtong, with a battery capacity of 230 kWh from lithium iron phosphate batteries. There was also a trolley bus service in Bukhara before (until 2005), as well as in a number of other places in the country. After a change in the centrally controlled transport policy in the country, only one of these, in Urgench, is still existing today – we will report on it in a separate article.

Zhongtong e-bus in Bukhara on service 68 | © D. Budach
Zhongtong e-bus in Bukhara | © D. Budach