Busways tests new electric bus models in Coffs Harbour and Penrith

Busways tests new electric bus models in Coffs Harbour and Penrith

Busways continues its trend of testing zero-emissions buses as it receives more electric models across NSW

Busways is testing new electric bus models in Penrith and Coffs Harbour

NSW operator Busways is this week conducting its first test of a European model zero emission bus (ZEB) in Coffs Harbor and is also testing a Chinese model in Penrith.

The testing of the Volvo and BYD vehicles follows Busways’ procurement of the Australian-made Custom Denning Element vehicles for Western Sydney in 2021 and 2022 and an earlier Busways trial of a Yutong EZL model in Coffs Harbor in 2021.

“It’s an important part of Busways’ zero-emission fleet transition strategy to test and benchmark different makes and models in Australian conditions as electric bus technology continues to evolve,” said Busways Chief Operating Officer Chris Wolf.

“We want to evaluate different buses to determine which provide a comfortable and reliable service, while also providing good value for money over the entire life of the asset.”

Busways’ zero-emission bus and innovation manager, Joe Kotevich, says that each bus has the ability to capture a wide range of data to help assess these factors.

“In addition to electricity consumption, we assess the time it takes to charge, air conditioning demand, power recovered by braking and more,” says Kotevich.

“It is important to look at components such as suspension, doors, driveline, air conditioning, manufacturer support and additional training required for drivers or maintenance crews.”

In Coffs Harbour, Kotevich says Busways was keen to see how a European-made electric bus compared to other models in a regional environment.

“We will test the bus in summer conditions when higher air conditioning demand affects power consumption,” says Kotevich.

“We will also see how it manages the terrain in and around the region, to help inform how electric buses will integrate with the existing regional fleet as we transition to zero-emission public transport.”

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Regional Transport and Roads Minister Sam Farraway says the NSW Government is committed to transitioning its bus fleet to zero-emission technology as part of its strategy to deliver more energy-efficient transport options.

“It’s great to see local regional manufacturers taking part in this trial to deliver more sustainable buses for the community. The launch of this trial is exciting as it comes as bus and coach operators are separately invited to express interest to the NSW Government to express Regional’s $25 million zero-emission bus trials,” says Farraway.

Member for Coffs Harbor Gurmesh Singh says it was exciting to see Coffs Harbor as a testing ground for new technology.

“These kinds of tests help us learn more about what suitable electric buses might have in the regions, especially where long-distance routes are more common than in metro areas. Feedback from operators like Busways that run ZEBs in metropolitan areas is critical to right to land. technological solutions for the regions,” says Singh.

“We will see this electric bus operating Monday to Friday on various routes and school services, providing many Busways drivers with vital electric bus training.”

Busways says zero-emissions buses (even those powered from the grid) have lower energy consumption than traditional diesel buses, resulting in a quieter, smoother experience for customers and better air quality for the community.

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