The first battery-powered bus in the world has been working its route for 10 days in the Sao Paulo suburb of Diadema, where the more than 135,000 passengers it has transported up to now are getting to like this Brazilian project to reduce both noise and greenhouse-gas emissions.

The bus has been carrying passengers since March 5 as part of the conventional urban fleet, which includes buses fueled with diesel, ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, and, in some parts of the metropolis, the traditional electric trolleybuses.

The chassis, bodywork and motor of the bus are manufactured in Brazil, while the batteries and recharge system are supplied by Japan's Mitsubishi.

The combination was defined by the Sao Paulo state government as an "environmentally correct" public transport project, and in its first days of operation it quickly won passengers' approval - they were surprised by how little noise and vibration the vehicle made compared with other buses.

Teacher Evanir Souza, a daily bus rider, compared the sound of the vehicle with the feeling of being inside an elevator, and called it an "ecological bus."

"Emitting zero pollution," the battery-powered bus is an alternative for dealing with the "new environmental reality," the president of the Sao Paulo Urban Transport Company, Joaquim Lopes, told Efe.

"The bus is super-healthy for the planet and can do its job almost like diesel-fueled models, thanks to its recharge technology and use of energy," Ivan Regina, manager of the Transport Planning, Technological Development and Environment unit, told Efe.

Regina hopes that after the six-month trial, the technical and economic results will open the way to planning large-scale production of the vehicle. EFE