first electric buses in Iceland to come from China

Guðmundur Tyrfingsson ehf. of Selfoss will operate the first electric coach in Iceland, supplied by Yutong 宇通, according to an agreement signed in Beijing with the attendance of Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Iceland’s foreign minister (Vísir). The sale has likely been facilitated by the free trade agreement between the two countries, in effect since July 1.

Yutong sell (not only electric) buses in multiple countries, from Venezuela, where they plan to open a factory soon, to Ghana, where the vehicles have been crashing a bit too often. The company blames this on second-hand spare parts and poor maintenance. In Europe, they are focusing on the Nordic market.

Gunnar Bragi’s trip to China also included a visit to the PRIC (Polar Research Institute of China). Cooperation between the PRIC and Iceland includes the aurora observatory expected to open later this year in Kárhóll near Akureyri.

I’ve written a couple of times about the aurora observatory project. A ‘ground-breaking’ ceremony and toast was held for it last month.

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former OSCE expert suspicious about Chinese aurora observatory in Iceland

“Northern Light research in Reykjadal an excuse?” asks last week’s Akureiri Vikublað on its very front page, introducing an interview with Pascal Heyman, a security policy expert formerly with the OSCE. “The fact that the Chinese come here and want to research the skies above Iceland” at a projected aurora observatory, says Heyman, “looks suspicious.” They might be wanting to use “modern technology” to keep an eye on “everything going on” up there, in what is actually “NATO airspace”, and warns Iceland to be wary of Chinese intentions and rather increase cooperation with their Scandinavian neighbours.

The aurora observatory is a joint project of Icelandic researchers and the PRIC (China’s polar research institute), somewhat facilitated by Halldór Jóhannsson, Huang Nubo’s spokesman in Iceland, and others.

The wording towards the end of the Akureyri Vikublað article makes me wonder if Mr Heyman knew about the aurora observatory before the interview.

(Via RÚV and Islandsbloggen.)

aurora observatory ready by October: PRIC

The Polar Research Institute of China (the PRIC) announces a preliminary design for the main building of the Chinese-Icelandic aurora observatory near Akureyri is ready, and provides a (rather stylised) computer model. The whole thing is supposed to be ready by October.

The land for the observatory was secured last year by a foundation led by Reinhard Reynisson, famous for his proposal to use crocodiles for waste-disposal in the town of Húsavík he was the mayor of, and Halldór Jóhannsson, Huang Nubo’s spokesman in Iceland.