Electric bus maker BusTech Group says it will open a factory in NSW – its fourth in Australia – after the NSW government made the company an official supplier in its move to completely decarbonise its bus fleet by 2030.
Bus operators in NSW, contracted to the state government, had already put in orders for its ZDI buses, the company said, though it would not say how many.
BusTech, which also makes traditional diesel and hybrid buses, currntly builds electric buses at factories in South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania.
Company spokesperson Maria Fedele said the only significant component of its electric buses made overseas was the battery, which is made by US firm Proterra and has 420kwh of useable energy. Almost everything else is sourced locally, she said.
She would not reveal how much it costs to buy one BusTech’s buses, or how they compared with the cost of local competitors that source a higher number of parts from overseas.
But the company was eager to stress the economic and environmental benefits of its “made in Australia” credentials, which it hopes will override any increase in expense.
“We use a supply chain that is over 95 per cent located in Australia,” said Kasia Pitman, the company’s director of sustainability. “This not only creates economic benefits and generates employment opportunities, but also ensuresthe lowest carbon emissions manufacturing footprint of any bus available in Australia.”
BusTech joins BCI, Yutong, Nexport BYD Gemilang and Nexport BYD Volgren as certified suppliers of electric buses to the NSW government.
Late last year, the NSW government announced it would put 120 electric buses on the road, 50 of which would be in Sydney with the remainder yet to be allocated a location.
“I want to scale up our efforts towards tackling climate change, so I am challenging Transport for NSW to aim for my goal of electrifying the state’s entire bus fleet by 2030,” transport minister Andrew Constance said at the time.
“I am excited to see us one step closer to our vision of creating a greener, cleaner and healthier future for the people of NSW, with more people now able to enjoy our electric bus fleet right across Sydney.”
Other states are also phasing in electric buses. South Australia plans to completely electrify its bus fleet by the 2030s, while Victorian is currently trialling electric buses with a view to fully electrifying its bus fleet.
James Fernyhough is a reporter at RenewEconomy and The Driven. He has worked at The Australian Financial Review and the Financial Times, and is interested in all things related to climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.