New energy technology company BYD has signed a landmark agreement to construct its SkyRail in the Brazilian city of Salvador, a project that will be the first of its kind for BYD in Latin America.

The 20 kilometres seaside route will be partially built above the sea to connect to an offshore island, with another portion traversing above a 19th century railway track that is set to be converted into a pedestrian zone. Construction for the 2.5 billion Brazilian real (689 million US dollars) project will be divided into two phases, and is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2018 and be operational in 2021. BYD monorail project will connect with the existing subway, providing seamless transportation for the city of 3.8 million residents.

“Air pollution and traffic congestion are the twin evils of urban living. The SkyRail will provide the residents of Salvador with a low-carbon and more convenient way of travelling,” said BYD senior vice president Stella Li. “This project is an important milestone in our global revolution. BYD is willing to work together with our partners to electrify transport and make it 'smarter’.”

The engineering excellence of the SkyRail such as its strong climbing capacity makes the vehicle capable of negotiating the difficult local terrain where a distance of 400 metres requires an increase of 80 metres. In addition, the SkyRail is quiet and carbon-free. Its elevated construction does not affect normal pedestrian and traffic flow, providing a non-disruptive addition to Salvador's urban landscape.

The local government has plans to boost tourism in the area where the SkyRail will be constructed with the help of domestic companies.

Launched in October 2016 after five years of research and development worth 5 billion RMB, the SkyRail which features an automated driving system of the highest level, is currently operational in the western Chinese city of Yinchuan. Outside of China, BYD has won strategic partnerships with countries such as the Philippines, Egypt, Morocco and Cambodia.


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