Earlier this year, the ACT Government issued a tender for the lease of electric buses. Now that the tenders have closed, ACT Bus has a look at some of the suppliers in contention.
Aluminium Revolutionary Chassis Company (ARCC)
ARCC is a bus chassis manufacturer based in Sydney. As the name suggests, they offer a light-weight aluminium chassis for electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses. As at 2020, ARCC was said to have a prototype under development. ARCC also convert existing diesel and gas buses to electric.
No known vehicles are currently in operation in Australia.
Custom Bus offers the Sydney-built Custom Denning Element. This bus uses an Australian made Denning low-floor chassis with a Custom Bus body. It utilises solid-state Lithium Metal Polymer batteries, rather than Lithium Iron Phosphate used by most other electric buses. The electrics and drivetrain are supplied by ACTIA (France) with ZF axles and steering components.
There are several Custom Denning Element buses in use in Sydney.
Ebusco is a Dutch electric bus manufacturer with buses in service in many cities throughout Europe. In 2020, Ebusco entered an agreement with BusTech Group to build Ebusco buses in Australia. Models available are the EBUSCO 2.2 or the light-weight carbon-fibre based EBUSCO 3.0.
There are no known Ebusco vehicles operating in Australia.
Foton Mobility is a joint venture of Foton Bus Australia and True Green Mobility. While Foton Mobility is better known for developing Hydrogen fuel cell buses, they also offer a 12.5m Electric City bus model.
Transit Systems have ordered two Hydrogen fuel cell buses, but there are no known Foton electric buses operating in Australia.
Nexport (part of the True Green group) is the Australian BYD chassis supplier. In July 2021, UK bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis entered an agreement for Nexport to assemble AD bodies on BYD chassis for the Australian market. Nexport intends to establish a production facility at Moss Vale NSW.
While no Alexander Dennis/BYD buses are currently in service, there are many Gemilang-bodied BYD buses supplied by Nexport in operation, mainly in Sydney.
Optare is a UK bus manufacturer. In 2019, the Australian distributor Bus Corp Oceania displayed an electric Optare MetroCity bus at the BusVic expo in Melbourne. Optare offers battery electric options for the Solo (midi-bus) and MetroCity (11.5m).
There are no known Optare electric buses operating in Australia.
Volvo Buses will deliver their first electric buses to Australia in late 2021 – four 11.7 metre electric buses are being built for Perth to be used on CAT services. These buses will feature Volgren Optimus bodies, built in Melbourne.
The most recent electric evaluation bus in Canberra was a Yutong E12.
Several fully-imported Yutong electric buses are currently operating in NSW and Queensland.
- Electric Vehicle Council: electricvehiclecouncil.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/EVC-State-of-EVs-2020-report.pdf
- Australasian Bus & Coach news: www.busnews.com.au
- Alexander Dennis media release: www.alexander-dennis.com/media/news/2021/july/alexander-dennis-agrees-australian-electric-bus-supply-agreement-with-nexport
- Truck & Bus news: www.truckandbus.net.au/optare-launches-electric-metrobus-at-melbourne-show