By Peter Roberts
A number of companies are now lining up in a race to secure major orders for electric buses from states such as New South Wales determined to electrify their fleets.
Led by our largest bus maker Volgren, the market includes Bustech, Germilang Australia and Custom Denning all offering various levels of local assembly and manufacture, with at least two offering locally made chassis if not the vehicles electric drive trains and batteries.
Driven by climate change concerns, and the savings on offer from lower fuel costs and less maintenance on vehicles inherently simpler than internal combustion models, the prospective orders are massive indeed.
But the field just got hotter with China’s BYD, arguably the leading electric bus manufacturer globally, entering the market via a link up with Australian electric vehicle supplier Nexport.
BYD has supplied its chassis and complete buses made in China to Australia previously, but the new agreement extends a partnership between BYD and Alexander Dennis Limited already successful in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand to Australia.
Nexport, part of the TrueGreen mobility group, is building a factory at Moss Vale in NSW to assemble bodies from the Alexander Dennis Enviro family on BYD chassis (main picture) for the local market.
Nexport CEO Michel van Maanen said: “We are delighted to partner with Alexander Dennis who have been extremely progressive in the zero-emission bus space globally.
“For Nexport to be able to partner with such a strong global company, further demonstrates our business objective to bring the world’s best zero-emission mobility technology to our shores and manufacturing the products locally, by Australians.”
The first of the range released will include a 9.7-metre electric city bus as well as 11.6-metre and 12.5-metre models.
Nexport is also planning a range of vans (below), pick up trucks and consumer vehicles.
According to afr.com, Nexport has secured $100 million in funding from a Hong Kong group and plans a stock exchange listing.
The first buses are targeted to be on the road in early 2022 with volume production to be underway by the end of that year.
Announcing the latest developments TrueGreen group CEO Luke Todd said: “We are fully charges and fully funded.
“Now let’s make Australia a leader in zero-emission mobility.”
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