The South Korean company Caris and Yuzhmash of Ukraine have signed an agreement for the construction of 5,000 electric buses and 7,800 charging stations. The Ukrainian state space agency also played a part in the contract.
Yuzhmash (also known as Piwdenmash) produces agricultural machinery, wind turbines, trams and buses, as well as rockets and satellites and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of the space agency. While the press information still refers to the deal as a Memorandum of Understanding, it has already been confirmed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.
Nothing is yet known about the specifications of the vehicles to be produced under the agreement. The company’s MoU merely states that the production of electric buses and charging stations will be jointly localised and licenses and technologies will be exchanged. Besides, the “potential for exporting electric buses to other European and the CIS countries” should be examined.
According to Shmygal, the volume of the order is expected to be around 750 million euros and is one of the largest orders for the Ukrainian industrial sector in recent years. It is not the first cooperation between the Koreans and Ukraine: Caris has been involved in several road projects in Ukraine. “The memorandum formalises intentions to expand collaboration with Ukrainian state-owned enterprises in the heavy industry sector,” says Yu Chol, CEO of Caris.
“Yuzhmash was for a long time not utilised to the full capacity and was in a difficult economic condition,” says CEO Sergii Voyt. “Cooperation with Caris will allow not only to improve the enterprise financially but also preserve the scientific and technical expertise, reviving large civil engineering sector, which for many years has remained one of the key vectors for the plant’s activities,” the executive added.
Also, the Ukrainian space agency is “focused on maximising the expansion of international cooperation and attracting investment in the industry,” according to Volodymyr Usov, head of the State Space Agency.
It is not the first time that we hear of electric bus building efforts from Ukraine. Our correspondent Aleksandra Fedorska recently reported projects of Ukrainian manufacturers. While it may remain difficult for them to break into the European market with their products, manufacturing cooperation such as envisioned by Caris and Yuzhmash may prove successful.
The agreement for the 5,000 electric buses at hand could include contracts amounting to 23 billion hryvnias (about 755M euros), estimates Yuzhmash, with the production period lasting up to 2023.
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