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Bus Search: BusTech Group celebrates electric release

BusTech Group recently unveiled its latest electric ZDI-450 model. It is now finding new ways to make its fleet greener in 2023 and beyond.

Following a successful Bus & Coach Expo in Sydney in late 2022, BusTech Group is looking to take its electric bus to the next level. The first Queensland designed and manufactured electric bus in the BusTech ZDI-450 dominated the manufacturer’s Expo stand and is set for a massive 2023 in the local market.

The ZDI-450 model is completely designed, manufactured and built in Australia, specifically on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

“The ZDI-450 is currently operating in two Australian states successfully,” BusTech Group chief commercial officer and general manager of the Burleigh facility Martin Hall told ABC. “It is currently the largest battery pack in operation in the Australian market.

“It’s something we’re very proud of – it’s designed for the Australian climate and for Australian operators.”

Hall says the ZDI-450 model was borne during COVID lockdowns, with the design, engineering and manufacturing happening in the past couple of years.

Despite the impacts of the pandemic slowing the process, Hall says the model gave the BusTech Group’s team a project to focus on.

The first four models of the standard 12.5m, two door buses were first delivered in October and November 2022. With Proterra batteries from America, the bus contains four battery packs – two on the floor and the other two on the roof.

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“One thing that makes this bus different is our in-house engineers have designed a powertrain module that slots in and out of the back of the bus,” Hall says. “It’s a self-contained module that can be installed and removed in two hours and is upgradeable as technology evolves. It’s a unique selling point.”

Alongside this special technology, the ZDI-450 has ZF axles and WABCO steering and suspension alongside traditional and familiar parts found on most manufacturers on the market currently.

The electric bus model comes with a minimum six-year warranty for batteries and battery management systems. Hall says the warranty can extend out to 12 years if needed.

“It gives the customers peace of mind,” Hall says. “Like every electric bus, the running costs for the ZDI-450 are also profoundly reduced and constantly optimised.”

The ZDI-450 has normal regenerative capabilities increasing the daily range. The bus can travel for up to 450 kilometres before needing charging, which takes between two and five hours depending on how depleted the battery is upon returning to the depot. Hall says the entire product has made the BusTech Group team incredibly proud.

What to look forward to in 2023

After the model was tested successfully with a variety of chargers, the ZDI-450 is ready to hit Australian roads. It’s been delivered to customers and is set to continue being delivered in 2023.

Hall says BusTech Group has grand plans for the zero-emissions model. The manufacturer intends to provide a similar fuel cell option to provide a complete green energy product range.

“The benefit of the ZDI-450 that we manufactured in-house is it’s absolutely designed and ready for pantograph charging and other plug-in charging capabilities,” Hall told ABC. “The design of the model and powertrain makes it perfect for fuel cell integration.

“There’s no engineering re-working required. We’re keen to get a hydrogen version out and get more battery electric buses rolling out in Queensland and Australia.”

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