Four CD Element 2s (748-751)

Started by Barry Drive, June 16, 2023, 10:03:14 AM

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Barry Drive

Custom Denning have confirmed that they will be supplying four "Element 2" buses for Belconnen Depot.

First bus to be delivered by late September, with all in service by November.

https://www.custombus.com.au/post/transport-canberra-signs-new-custom-denning-contract

No information yet on whether these are leased, or how long the lease period will be.


Barry Drive

Quote from: 743 on September 08, 2023, 06:40:01 PMOf note - Belconnen's 4 electrics now due December this year.
We may not have any news about the buses, but there has recently been a contract (awarded to Simeco Electrical) to install the infrastructure at Belconnen Depot to support the two bus chargers.

Contract end date is 14 December 2023.

Barry Drive

The first Element 2 arrived yesterday. As noted in the title, its fleet number is 748.

Will probably spend the next month solely performing training and familiarisation until the second bus arrives.

Peter Bakos


triumph

There is a 'whisper' that there was an incident affecting 748 during delivery to Canberra, which later resulted in a brief return of 748 for repair/rectification. Confirmation?

triumph

Quote from: Barry Drive on September 23, 2023, 01:05:53 PMWe may not have any news about the buses, but there has recently been a contract (awarded to Simeco Electrical) to install the infrastructure at Belconnen Depot to support the two bus chargers.

Contract end date is 14 December 2023.
Any news on progress? Presumably the 4 Elements cannot enter service until this work is completed.

Also, the duty of connecting buses to chargers has apparently become the preserve of refuellers. Seems logical. Probably obviates 'Sorry, mate, I forgot' events with drivers parking the bus as normal and going off shift.
However, are there issues with refuellers needing to be on duty late each evening to plug the buses in? Or does this fall within normal refuelling duty periods?

It is necessary both environmentally and to support Government publicity, that the whole electric fleet is utilised to the maximum, and thus details like support personnel duty times are arranged to support that.

triumph

Interesting detail. BUS748 is pictured in today's Riotact displaying what appears (partially hidden by bike rack) a BUS748 registration plate, but an ACT Rego check indicated that there was no registration record.

Barry Drive

That photo was from the Media event to announce 748's arrival.

Can't locate the reference right now, but Minister Steel has stated all 4 Elements will be in service by the end of this year - so that has to be accurate.

As for the chargers: they were also featured at the Media event. From what can be seen, they have been installed.

triumph

Quote from: Barry Drive on December 04, 2023, 09:52:38 AMThat photo was from the Media event to announce 748's arrival.

Can't locate the reference right now, but Minister Steel has stated all 4 Elements will be in service by the end of this year - so that has to be accurate.

As for the chargers: they were also featured at the Media Event. From what can be seen, they have been installed.
So the Media Event was at Belconnen then. The image in TC News showed a charger with two connectors looking as if they had been in use. So I had taken this to be at the Tuggeranong Depot. Even if visibly appearing complete, the actual electrical cabling and power supply integration from the grid at Belconnen cannot be visually determined from the image as complete.

The number plate issue is now even more interesting. It was visible in the TC image. How was this bus moved to Belconnen displaying plates not yet registered? Transported?  Movement permit? Plate temporarily authorised as Trade plate? Issued prior to registration! 

triumph

Quote from: Barry Drive on December 04, 2023, 09:52:38 AMCan't locate the reference right now, but Minister Steel has stated all 4 Elements will be in service by the end of this year - so that has to be accurate.

School goes back on Monday. if it is intended that these 4 buses enter service on or before that, then TC is cutting it fine - only 3 week-days left.

Pre-requisites mentioned in posts were driver and staff training, completion ( including turning on) of the new Belconnen Depot chargers, and resolution of any industrial issues concerning routine charging. Does the training involve on the road training? If so, it is most unlikely that service entry is imminent, as they are not even registered yet.

Looks like the Renaults will be soldiering on for quite a while yet. The on-line TT for school term services from next Monday supports this, as various non-accessible services continue to be shown.


Snorzac

I think at this stage it is potentially a wider issue with the CD Element II as a whole rather than anything directly related to TC, haven't heard of any operators putting the element II into service as of yet despite many deliveries 

Barry Drive

#12
Quote from: Snorzac on January 24, 2024, 12:34:23 AMI think at this stage it is potentially a wider issue with the CD Element II as a whole rather than anything directly related to TC, haven't heard of any operators putting the element II into service as of yet despite many deliveries
Based on delivery data, so far Custom Denning have delivered these Element 2s - 4 to Transport Canberra, 4 to Metro Tasmania and 7 to Transport for NSW.

There are no records of any of these being registered yet. Four of the 7 NSW buses were delivered at the same time as ours, so it's not related to when they were delivered.

(ACT Legislative Assembly resumes on 6 February 2024. It is likely Chris Steel will deliver another update regarding the supply of buses on that day or soon afterwards.)

UPDATE: the 4 Tasmania Elements have been registered and will soon commence service in Launceston.

Barry Drive

Quote from: Barry Drive on January 24, 2024, 10:32:40 AMUPDATE: the 4 Tasmania Elements have been registered and will soon commence service in Launceston.
Further update: the 4 Elements did enter service in Launceston, but have now been taken off the road due to "software issues'.

triumph

The 4 Launceston buses are on a 2 year trial and are equipped with telematics to aid data gathering for the trial. Be interesting to know if the 'software issues' are with the buses proper or the telematics.
 
Also Metro Tas is trialling 3 fuel cell buses in Hobart with a view to comparing the different technologies.
Whilst TC is getting on with it in regard to Yutongs, Metro Tas seems to be going about it a more measured way.

The interesting question is whether the issues with the TC Elements are related to the Metro Tas Launceston experiences.

At a recent public meeting a question was asked about the TC Elements and drew a rather vague reply from a Govt representative about commissioning and training. As they are not yet registered one might wonder about the progress of 'training'. I got the impression that service entry was still some time off. So 4 of the Renaults will not be retiring as soon as thought.
 

triumph

As these buses are yet to enter service, and several MyWay+ demo buses are expected, it might be reasonably speculated that the demo buses will be CD Element 2s.

Snorzac

I don't think the demo buses will be anything other than retired PR100.2...I could be wrong 

The Elements are clearly troubled, all fit out work for new buses is traditionally done at Belconnen and the fact these four buses are still at Tuggeranong after multiple trips to presumably Sydney tells me they're still not correct and ready to go. 

Launceston has had a lot of difficulties with software in the element 2, so much so they were removed from service, my running theory is that nothing will happen with the TC element 2s until such a time Launceston have theirs back on the road and operating reliably. 

Barry Drive

And let's not forget there are 9 (or more) at Transit Systems in Sydney which are yet to be registered.

It does appear likely that they are waiting on a software(?) fix before officially accepting the buses and therefore registering them.

While the Elements may not be official trial buses for MyWay+, I have to wonder whether they will go to the trouble to fit the full MyWay/NXTBUS systems knowing that it has to be removed in ~6 months.

triumph

Amazed it has taken this long. The fact that the Elements are not yet in service has finally made the mainstream media. Article today in the on-line version of the Canberra Times.

Barry Drive

#19
The article can be viewed at:

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8573493/electric-bus-was-ready-for-a-photo-op-but-not-canberras-streets/?cs=14329

A non paywall version can be read here:

https://www.printfriendly.com/p/g/qrFLe4

As expected, most of the comments are from people who are clueless about the facts, including claims that (A) there is a diesel generator to charge the batteries - which is entirely false and (B) they don't have sufficient capacity to charge them - also false.

As has been mentioned here, the delays are entirely due to the buses not passing whatever testing has been performed by TC at the depot, and requiring a possible software update.

As one person mentioned in the comments, the Launceston buses have an ongoing software problem (although the number of buses there is 4, not 3). This was public information that should have been in the original article, as is the fact that the 9 Sydney Element buses are also not in service.

From my reading of the contract, lease payments only commence after the buses have been "accepted". Given none are yet registered, I presume they haven't been accepted so no money has been outlayed, except to install the chargers at Belconnen. (ACT Government publishes its expenditure, so that should also not be too hard for a journalist to determine.)

About the only useful detail in the article is from an unnamed ACT spokeswoman who said the four buses would enter service in the coming weeks. We'll soon see how accurate that is.

triumph

Was a diesel generator acquired at all? If not are the Depots already equipped? It seems necessary to have substantial diesel generation (or a very large battery)  standby to cover the consequences of a bad power outage.

Barry Drive

#21
There has been no recent contract awarded for supply of a diesel generator. The comment referred to 200K which just happens to be what it cost to install the ABB chargers at each depot.

While a power outage will prevent all buses from being recharged or refuelled, from a risk management perspective the likelihood of a long term outage is low. I believe their contingency plan in the event of a planned outage is to hire a generator from Kennards (or similar).

Edit to add: I did a quick check of the ACT data portal - I couldn't find any payments to Custom Denning for the Elements. However, the reportable threshold is $25000, so the monthly lease payments may be less than that anyway.

Barry Drive

See also this question and answer in the Legislative Assembly from last year regarding diesel generators:

https://questions.parliament.act.gov.au/details/41938d56c16c4ed6930fd246cb4bbc9d

Electric bus



At the Custom Denning factory, 9/2/'24. Photo is CC-BY-SA.

L94UBbusfan

They look soooo nice, if only they would enter service. Does anyone have any updates on them as it's been 7 months since they were delivered.

Sylvan Loves Buses

They're our first bus to have a bloody rear window in forever. That's the only newsworthy thing I can come up with.
The one time I decided to walk by Tuggeranong Depot without my camera on me...

Barry Drive

#26
Quote from: L94UBbusfan on May 06, 2024, 05:55:29 PMThey look soooo nice, if only they would enter service. Does anyone have any updates on them as it's been 7 months since they were delivered.
For those who don't follow Question Time in the Legislative Assembly (you really should): Chris Steel today announced that "technical acceptance" of the Elements is now complete.

The buses are expected to soon be commissioned, registered and then driver training will commence. So maybe a month before the first one is seen in service.

L94UBbusfan

About time! We will see whether they actually enter service in a month or not, but if they enter service in June/July, then it will have been 8-9 months since they were originally delivered. These Elements have to be the most messed up delivery's in memory.

Bus 400

Atleast the buses have been delivered, unlike 2 previous/current contracts.

I'm sure Custom didn't expect this issue, considering the first version worked & still works fine.

TC have a rigorous bus acceptance list, mainly involving roads around Tuggeranong. I'm assuming other buses have failed in the past. Normally it all happens behind closed doors. Normally the Transport Minister & Chief Minister do the whole announcement making once the bus is ready to hit the road.

Although I'm told there was going to be media party when Bus 400 was delivered 😜.

Snorzac

#29
Quote from: Bus 400 on May 14, 2024, 08:37:45 PMAtleast the buses have been delivered, unlike 2 previous/current contracts.
Out of curiosity what is the second contract you at referring to?

Quick edit possibly answering my own question...the AVASS or whatever that weird electric bus manufacturer based at Avalon Airport was?

Bus 400

Quote from: Snorzac on May 14, 2024, 08:54:49 PMOut of curiosity what is the second contract you at referring to?

Quick edit possibly answering my own question...the AVASS or whatever that weird electric bus manufacturer based at Avalon Airport was?

That's the second one, the one that never arrived or even (I'm assuming) built. 

Sylvan Loves Buses

#31
Quote from: L94UBbusfan on May 14, 2024, 05:10:20 PMThese Elements have to be the most messed up delivery's in memory.
710 and 711 were pretty messed up. Suppose to be run together but the second finally came right before the first had finished its course, 2 or something years later...

L94UBbusfan

From what I've seen on the Custom Denning website and the photo of Chris Steel inside the bus, it looks like these Element 2s will be TCs first bus with seats that face each other at the rear since the Irisbuses.

Busnerd

Quote from: L94UBbusfan on June 01, 2024, 09:46:55 AMFrom what I've seen on the Custom Denning website and the photo of Chris Steel inside the bus, it looks like these Element 2s will be TCs first bus with seats that face each other at the rear since the Irisbuses.
Correct

L94UBbusfan

Well apparently 748 and 750 entered service yesterday, any sightings of them yet?

Sylvan Loves Buses

#35
Last time I saw them was Tuesday evening in the depot, but I'll certainly keep my eyes open for them - including checking out anytrip as often as I can. Really want to try them out knowing now they're basically a quiet Irisbus with rear windows.

L94UBbusfan

Quote from: Sylvan Loves Buses on June 09, 2024, 03:16:50 AMLast time I saw them was Tuesday evening in the depot, but I'll certainly keep my eyes open for them - including checking out anytrip as often as I can. Really want to try them out knowing now they're basically a quiet Irisbus with rear windows.

Thanks. I've tried to find them on anytrip and I can't see them, this either means

1: They haven't entered full service yet, or
2: They are using MyWay+, which doesn't show on anytrip (yet)

A quiet Irisbus with rear windows 😂. I hope to get on one soon too, it will be interesting to see how they compare to the Yutongs in ride quality, passenger comfort and noise.

triumph

What does 'entered service' even mean? It could mean (the version I normally believe) that the bus was actually on the road carrying passengers, OR just that it has been signed off for service and available to be rostered in service as needed/convenient, OR ???.

With reduced weekend fleet utilisation, it might not reappear(?) until Tuesday.

L94UBbusfan

I'm no expert, but my understanding is that it means the day the bus has begun operating route services. So if they are going to enter service on Tuesday, I thought that the date of Tuesday (11th June) would be the date that the bus "enters service". As I said I don't know much about this, and there are other people that would have much more knowledge than me.

I've also never seen it appear, which is why I asked the question in the first place. Time will tell whether 748 and 750 are in service on Tuesday. 749 and 751 shouldn't be too far away from entering service either.

Snorzac

#39
History tells us that new bus types will often be kept to very light duties until such a time that there is sufficient staff (mechanics not drivers) that are signed off to work on them and also that there is some sort of confidence in them. I'm not saying that they definitely were in service on Friday but my sources the previous night stated that the "may be released for short shifts in the morning", the powers that update the wiki are usually very on point so if the wiki says they have entered service you could almost take that as gospel.

You may also find that they will not have a full complement of TC installed hardware in them based on the fact that NXT Bus and MyWay are very close to retirement and they may not want to cut holes into these buses to install equipment which will be removed in a matter of months. They however will not have MyWay + installed as it has been very clearly stated there will only be four demo buses for MyWay + and evidentially these buses will be 812-815 all of which are now delivered with 813 in service.

743

Confirming I just saw BUS 750 in route service in the City just now.

L94UBbusfan

Nice! They must be missing the required NXTBUS equipment to show up on AnyTrip, because I can't find them on there, which sucks because it makes them much harder to find. Do you by any chance remember the route 750 was running on?

743

I saw it from the only side without a destination board 😅 It was at the Legislative Assembly stop, with passengers on board.

triumph

Quote from: L94UBbusfan on June 11, 2024, 07:49:05 PMNice! They must be missing the required NXTBUS equipment to show up on AnyTrip, because I can't find them on there, which sucks because it makes them much harder to find. Do you by any chance remember the route 750 was running on?
Look in Any Trip for missing data and just 'scheduled'. Other buses can be in this category, but it is a good start,

L94UBbusfan

Today while on my way to Belconnen I saw 750 in the flesh on a R9. I was super excited to see it in the flesh, it's a nice bus from the outside, can't comment on the inside yet but when I eventually find one I will comment on the interior. I swear every time I see a new bus it is on the R9. Shame it wasn't on my route though  :'(

Snorzac

Not a great start for the elements. 750 was seen on the back of the Scania tow truck on the parkway about 9pm last night

L94UBbusfan

After 7 months since their initial deliveries, all 4 Element 2's have finally entered service. If anyone has ridden on one yet, a review of their comfort and the experience would be greatly appreciated.