Media Release: Chris Steel MLA, 31 May 2023

The ACT Government has secured the future electrification of our city’s public transport network with the successful procurement of new zero-emissions buses.

“The ACT Government is delivering on our commitment to transition our bus fleet to zero emissions with the introduction of a further 94 battery electric buses, increasing our fleet to 106 zero emission buses over the next three years,” said Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel.

“These new buses will deliver the biggest change in technology for Canberra’s bus fleet in decades, as part of our Zero-Emission Transition Plan for Transport Canberra.

“The ACT is a leader on zero emissions transport with the largest fleet of electric buses delivered per capita in our nation. This will transition more than 20 per cent of our bus fleet to zero-emission technology, with the rest of the fleet transitioning by 2040 or earlier.”

Four Custom Denning Elements are expected in late 2023. Photo © Timothy Lau

The ACT Government has signed a contract with Vehicle Dealers International (VDI) to buy 90 Yutong ‘E12’ battery electric buses and is currently in negotiation with Custom Denning to procure four ‘Element’ battery electric buses including charging infrastructure.[1]

Transport Canberra expects to receive the first of the 94 electric buses from late 2023. These will be progressively delivered through to 2026.

“The new electric buses will initially replace ageing diesel and CNG buses, but will also grow the fleet overall to service our growing city,” said Minister Steel.

VDI and Custom Bus Group were chosen as the preferred providers as they could demonstrate an ability to meet full requirements of the tender process including value for money, delivery schedule and bus specifications such as passengers loads and operating times.

“Our first 12 of electric buses have been successfully delivering services every day right across the Transport Canberra network. We are confident that the new zero emission buses will deliver the same reliable, clean, quiet and comfortable services,” said Minister Steel.

The buses are powered by lithium-ion phosphate batteries and can operate for a maximum of 16 hours on a single charge, they can fit a total of 65 people with 45 seated (including driver) and 20 standing.

Today’s announcement also follows work underway to upgrade grid infrastructure to supply the new Woden and existing Tuggeranong bus depots with the electrical capacity to charge up to 300 electric buses, together with investments in skills to support the transition.

“We’ve always said that purchasing zero emission buses is only part of the story. The ACT Government is supporting workers to get the skills to work on electric buses, and building the grid and charging infrastructure necessary to make the transition successful,” said Minister Steel.

“This is another step in realising a better public transport system for Canberra with expansion of our light rail system under construction, new electric buses servicing the suburbs and the new MyWay+ ticketing system in design ahead of its roll out.”

TC operational performance metrics – Existing Yutong E12 battery electric buses

  • Average distance travelled per weekday: approximately 300 kilometres
  • Average state of battery charge remaining on completion of shift: approximately 25% to 30%
  • Average running hours per day: 11 hours with highest thus far being 14.8 hours

Have travelled more than 129,000 kilometres across Canberra in their first five months of operation.

Published as “106 new electric buses for Canberra”


  1. The contract for four Element buses has been finalised, as confirmed by this media release from Custom Denning.

This page was last updated on 25 October 2023