Australian bus company Busways has launched a three-week trial of its first electric bus, a Yutong E12 from Chinese commercial vehicle manufacturer Yutong, which will run on all Coffs Harbour routes in an effort to test the vehicle and charging technology in a regional environment.
Busways announced on Monday that it had taken the electric bus “for a spin in Coffs Harbour” with local Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh aboard, as well as representatives from Transport for NSW, the local Council, and the community.
Boasting a 374kWh battery capacity and a range of up to 400-kilometres on a single charge, the Yutong E12 will operate across all school and route services in Coffs Harbour for three weeks.
“Electric buses are our future and we’re pleased to be trialling the first electric bus on the north coast,” said Byron Rowe, Busways’ managing director.
“There’s a lot to do to reach a fully electric fleet such as innovative policymaking, joint planning, infrastructure requirements, and industry engagement, such as trials like this one.”
The three-week trial will provide Busways with data on how electric buses could run in regional areas, where longer distance routes are more common than found in metro areas. Similarly, the trial will help Busways determine what charging times, infrastructure, and driver education are necessary so as to progress towards a fully electric fleet transformation.
Transitioning to a zero-emissions bus fleet is part of the New South Wales Government’s larger strategy to make public transport more sustainable, according to NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole, who was onboard the inaugural ride of the Yutong E12.
“The launch of this trial is exciting because its outcomes will help shape how we move in and around the regions into the future,” said Toole.
“Trials like these help us learn more about what fit electric buses could have in the regions, particularly where longer distance routes are more common than in metro areas, as well as how to factor in charging times.
“Feedback from operators like Busways on their experience is critical to landing the right technological solutions for the regions.”
The trial run of the Yutong E12 ran from the Showground to the Jetty Foreshores and back again, according to Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, who explained on his Facebook page that “the bus certainly provides lower energy consumption, resulting in a quieter, smoother experience for customers and better air quality for the community.”