North Korea says it has manufactured solar powered buses for use in city of Nampho, according to a report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Monday.
The news follows footage of a bus with solar panels on the roof shown in November last year.
“Scientists and technicians in Nampho City of the DPRK developed a solar-powered bus which can carry more than 80 passengers. The development of this bus helps reduce noise pollution and relieve the strain on transport in the city,” the KCNA article reads.
The November footage showed a vehicle with solar panels on the roof, though it was unclear whether or not the bus ran exclusively on an electric engine.
The new article implies the vehicle uses the solar panels to charge a battery, which then powers the bus’s motion.
“According to Jong In Song, an official of the Nampho City Science and Technology Commission, the bus based on a solar battery has tens of solar panels on the top of it,” the article reads before adding the vehicle needs different voltages for produce different speeds.
The new bus can reportedly carry around 80 people, but speaking to NK News last November one expert doubted the North Korean claims.
While other solar powered buses do exist, they are charged at a terminal using solar energy or contain hybrid engines which also use more traditional fuels.
The small roof space for a solar array would not likely not be enough to charge and move the bus at the same time, requiring the bus to stay stationary for long periods as it charged the batteries.
Electric cars and vehicles are becoming increasingly popular outside of North Korea, however ones with solar panels actually moving the vehicle are less common, due to the difficulties involved in generating enough power to drive it.
North Korea’s solar bus represents just one in a series of efforts in what appears to be a focus on renewable energy in the DPRK. Recently North Korea has also showcased facilities where it claimed to be producing its solar panel technology domestically.
If accurate, the reports would go against prevailing theories and trade data that indicate the DPRK is importing increasingly large numbers of solar panels from neighboring China.
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Featured Image: Solar Mosaic by Clearly Ambiguous on 2005-09-18 12:38:22