Beijing, China (BBN)- The United Nations will contribute a plan by the Chinese authorities to make the Beijing Olympics environmentally friendly, with the opening of the Games little more than a week away.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will provide four electric buses for use during the Games, which will be part of a fleet of 50 that will ferry athletes between the Olympic Village and the sports venues, a U.N. press statement said.

The electric buses to be used during the Games will be the first running on an advanced lithium ion electric battery which, when compared to other batteries, are smaller and can run longer with repetitive use.

Each bus can carry 80 passengers and reach 80 kilometers (49 miles) per hour. With batteries fully charged, the buses can travel 130 kilometers (80 miles) without recharging.

“Apart from helping to achieve low-carbon approaches to Olympic venue operation, we seek to use the Olympics as a platform for raising awareness of the general public on the options for sustainable public transport in China,” Subinay Nandy, UNDP Country Director, said in the statement.

The transport sector in China, which relies almost entirely on oil, is projected to account for a large part of the country’s demand for oil over the next 20 years and will be the source of much of the nation’s emissions, the statement said.

BBN/SI/SI/AD-July08-2.14 AM