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Monday, 24 August 2020

Nissan reportedly walks away from Egypt’s plan to convert microbuses to run on natgas; Toyota seeks incentives

Nissan reportedly walks away from converting microbuses to run on natgas as Toyota eyes incentives: Japan’s Nissan has withdrawn from participating in the Egyptian government’s plans to convert microbuses to run on dual-fuel engines, saying it currently lacks the technical know-how to participate, Hapi Journal reports, citing an unnamed government source. The government has reportedly tried to convince Nissan otherwise, but to no avail. It remains unclear why Nissan dropped out of the program entirely, rather than follow in the footsteps of other auto firms — including Toyota, Al Amal, and Modern Motors — which requested a grace period of 3-4 months to adequately prepare for the conversion program.

Toyota, meanwhile, wants to be courted a little bit more: The Japanese automaker, which had previously expressed interest in the project, has asked the government for incentives to participate, including customs and VAT exemptions. The source suggests these requests will be difficult to meet, and could lead to Toyota following Nissan’s lead and also dropping out from the program.

That leaves two other companies in the program: Al Amal, the local distributor of King Long-branded microbuses, and Modern Motors, which distributes Foton microbuses, are now the two main participants in the conversion plan that the Sisi administration announced earlier this year. These firms are currently in talks for supply agreements for the imported car parts required to outfit cars with the dual-fuel engines, we noted previously.

Public buses running on natgas to hit the streets soon: The Mass Transit Authority (MTA) is set to work with the Military Production Ministry to convert 300 buses to run on natural gas as a first phase, MTA Chairman Rezk Aly told Al Mal. Each bus is expected to cost EGP 500k to convert, meaning the first phase will cost EGP 150 mn. The MTA plans to convert the engines on its entire 3,500-bus fleet within two years. Each converted bus will cut costs by EGP 100k per year, according to Aly.

Take a deep dive into the plan with our three-part series in Hardhat: Part 1, part 2, and part 3.

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