gas rich qatar. buses taxis going electric

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    The gas-rich Gulf state of Qatar on Thursday launched a public transport project that will use electric buses and taxis in a bid to cut air pollution.

    The battery-powered vehicles are being built by a China-based developer for Mowasalat, Qatar's public transport operator, and will enter service soon, the organisation's business development manager Ahmad al-Ansari said.

    "The developer is working now on technical issues such as increasing the speed of the vehicle, extending the battery range and reducing the mass of the vehicle," he told AFP.

    The vehicles will have their batteries recharged in the company's depot during the first phase of the scheme until charging stations are set up around the capital Doha, he said.

    "We endeavour to develop technology with the aim of providing services that will bring environmental and economic benefits," Mowasalat chairman Jassem al-Sulaiti said at a news conference to announce the project.

    Mowasalat will also have the patent for the new product and will market it worldwide, he added.

    The government-owned transport network recently inaugurated a taxi service using cars powered by liquefied natural gas which Qatar has abundant amounts of -- 15 percent of the world's proven reserves

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