Environmentally Friendly Aluminium Buses to Hit the Road for Beijing Olympic Games

Alcoa, the world’s leading aluminum company, and Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Company (Yutong), China’s largest bus manufacturer and the number two producer in the world, today introduced two new environmentally-friendly bus prototypes that will be displayed and road tested during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing next month. The new aluminum-intensive bus body is approximately 46 percent lighter than a traditional bus and, therefore, requires less fuel and emits fewer greenhouse gases.

The new buses feature Alcoa’s spaceframe technology – used in automobiles such as the Ferrari 612 and all Gran Turismo Ferraris, as well as the Audi A8 which was just awarded the 2008 European Inventor of the Year Award by the European Commission and the European Patent Office for the development of the Audi A8 and its use of high-strength, low-weight aluminum to build lighter, more fuel efficient and safer vehicles – as well as Alcoa Dura-Bright® forged aluminum wheels, Alcoa aluminum side and roof panels, and Alcoa fasteners.

The new Yutong buses will now enter extensive road trials, including helping to service transportation needs in Beijing during the Olympic Games and other major cities in China. The newly designed buses are part of a partnership to apply world-class structural design, materials and manufacturing technologies to develop a new generation of energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly buses for China’s growing commuting public.

“The partnership between Yutong Bus and Alcoa on the new sustainable bus demonstrates long-term commitment to the support of our government’s policy to build mass transportation vehicles in harmony with society – people and the environment,” said Mr. Tang Yuxiang, Chairman and Chief Executive of Zhengzhou Yutong.

“We realize that reducing the weight of tomorrow’s short- and long-range buses will be essential for improving their sustainability,” added Mr. Tang Yuxiang, “and that the intelligent application of aluminum is one of best methods possible to achieve such mass reduction.”

A recent study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg, Germany, which was presented at the 2007 China Aluminum and Transportation Conference in Dalian, revealed that a weight reduction of 100 kg in a diesel-powered city bus making several stops will save 2,550 litres of fuel and significantly reduce C02 equivalent green house gas emissions over its lifetime.

“Our goal, of course, was to work with Yutong to achieve significantly more than 1000 kg weight reduction per vehicle,” according to Mr. Jinya Chen, Alcoa’s President for the Asia-Pacific Region. “In fact, we achieved a more than 1300 kg weight reduction – nearly one and a half tons -- or approximately a 10 percent total reduction. The vast majority of the savings include a 46 percent reduction in the bus body, compared with traditional steel bus bodies in use today.

“Our companies believe that through the combination of aluminum spaceframe design and advanced manufacturing technologies, we can achieve significant weight reductions while maintaining the safety and enhancing the sustainability performance of a new family of buses,” Mr. Chen added.

The aluminum industry is projected to be greenhouse gas neutral by the year 2025 as a result of projected use in the transportation market. This means that the savings in greenhouse gas emissions from lighter weight, more fuel efficient vehicles will more than offset emissions generated when the metal is first produced.

“Yutong Bus Company looks forward to working with Alcoa on the road trials and to combine the best thinking of both companies to explore the opportunities that aluminum presents to develop a whole new family of ‘Green’ buses, not only for China but the world. This project shows Yutong and Alcoa as industry leaders in innovation and social responsibility,” Mr. Tang Yuxiang concluded.

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