Sydney public transport provider Transit Systems will sound out the suitability of electric buses for some of Sydney’s busiest bus routes, in a trial that will commence this July 1, 2019 and run for a period of two years.
Running out of Transit Systems Leichhardt depot, up to two electric buses will run over the next 24 months in Sydney’s inner west offering a silent, zero emissions alternative to the polluting diesel buses currently used by city dwellers.
The BYD electric buses, which are built on Gemilang bodies according to Truck and Bus, will be run by private contractor transit System on behalf of Transport NSW.
Currently, there are over 2,000 buses in the NSW transport system, most of which are run on diesel and a quarter of which were built on outdated Euro 3 emissions standards. Less than a quarter are “enhanced environmentally-friendly vehicles” (EEV) which are considered low emissions internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
Electric buses – particularly in congested urban areas – have the potential to improve city living by emitting less exhaust fumes, less noise, less vibrations and even if powered off the grid, less carbon emissions.
In addition, the maintenance costs of electric buses are well below that of their ICE equivalents.
An electric bus trial already underway in Yutong on NSW’s south coast has seen a 72 per cent reduction in daily running costs, according to Bus and Truck.
Sydney Airport at Mascot also has Gemilang BYD electric buses in service which are known as “Electric Blu”.
A damning 2018 report on the health impacts of PM2.5 particulate matter – a byproduct of diesel-powered vehicles – issued by the World Health Organisation in 2018 drew a call from Australia’s Doctors for the Environment for a reduction of public transport emissions, among other measures.
While the original tender for the electric bus trial announced in February 2018 was slated to involve four buses and commence by the end of 2018, it is understood that now only two of the zero emissions vehicles will now undertake the trial.
Worldwide, there are around 425,000 electric buses in service according to a report from Citylab – and almost all of them in China.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.