BREAKING: For brand fans the long-awaited Custom-Denning electric Element e-bus has officially attained Australian Design Rules (ADR) approval, according to a social media statement issued by the company today.
The Custom-Denning Element was successfully registered on the national register as a compliant model as part of the Motor vehicle standards Act, Custom-Denning confirms. As a result of testing for this compliance the bus has given a (conservative) range of 500km, the company explains.
According to the company, this is a big moment in Custom-Denning history (both companies’ lineages) with the electric Element’s approval as an ADR-compliant vehicle.
The Element is a, “…fully Australian-made electric city bus built with Australian labour and for Australian conditions,” the company points out.
The announcement comes 11 months after Custom-Denning first revealed exclusive concept images of its Element e-bus to a widely welcoming reception given the perceived need for innovative Australian bus manufacturing, and at a time the bus industry was starting to feel the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
Custom-Denning spokesperson Mick Neskes said: “We always knew our bus would be lighter thanks to our forward-thinking engineers in developing this lightweight chassis, but we never knew exactly what the end result would be. We are so pleased with this, and we know that we are in a great position with this product in more fronts than one,” he stated.
THE ADR approval is also a massive step that should bode well for Custom-Denning’s future hydrogen bus model, the Element H2, which will use the same e-bus body design albeit with electric hydrogen fuel-cell running gear.
Matching the statements made during an online ‘teaser’ animation that Custom-Denning released last September, the e-bus will be available for delivery from May, 2021, the company has announced.
As Custom Denning explained online, the first bus was in build and then started to be tested in October last year, with its solid-state batteries and Spheros air-conditioning choices proving key to the ultimate combination’s success, insiders reveal exclusively to ABC magazine.
The Element is “Australian designed and manufactured for Australian conditions”, Custom-Denning states, and features a full low-floor and integral stainless steel frame design with new and exciting technologies.
It continues: “Utilising solid-state batteries, the Element is driven by a two-stage electric motor. During deceleration the bus enters electricity-generation mode, regenerating electricity which can reduce consumption by up to 50 per cent.”
“The Element’s electric over-hydraulic power steering is dynamic and responsive to the driver’s needs.”
With air-conditioning being one of the largest consumers of energy on buses, it explains that the Element’s main cabin air-conditioning is programmed to automatically sense the temperatures throughout the saloon via several motion detectors strategically placed around inside the bus.
“The fast-acting plug-slide centre door deactivates the blower fans whenever opened, and with improved sealing capabilities reduces the loss of conditioned air from the passenger cabin,” it adds.
“The Element’s intelligent battery management system monitors all main and auxiliary components at all times. The intelligent battery management system offers optimised operation with reduced power consumption and improved efficiencies, allowing for increase in operating range,” Custom Denning states.
Also, the CAN network allows the driver to monitor usage via the LCD dash display. The on-board telematics simultaneously broadcasts real-time CAN data and information back to the operating base, thus allowing operators to monitor the vehicle status at all times, says Custom-Denning.
“The bus is fitted with Advanced Driver Assist System – ADAS. This enables protection for the following: collision warning and lane-departure warning, and pedestrian warning – which “…sounds an alarm inside the driver’s cabin and vibrates the seat to ensure the drivers is pre-warned about any possible collisions with the pedestrians.”
In terms of charging, the bus can be placed on charge whenever at the depot including between duties or overnight, it says.
“When the bus is ready for its next service the bus can be left on charge, air-conditioning and air compressor started, which enables the bus to obtain the correct operating conditions, which will increase battery capacity throughout the day,” the company explains.
According to Custom-Denning, key highlights of the Element e-bus include:
- The stainless frame is designed to last more than 25 years;
- The two-stage electric drive motor helps to conserve energy;
- Solid-state batteries are Lithium Metal Polymer (LMP) and don’t use solvents, nickel or rare minerals; They also do not require any cooling and work efficiently in temps of up to 150 degrees Celsius;
- Solid state batteries are also recyclable;
- When the bus is in service (“off-road”) situations, if extended work is required on the bus the batteries can be placed in sleep mode at any level of charge for however long, without losing charge. Such is the benefit of solid-state batteries;
- The completed Custom-Denning e-bus’s big advantage in the local marketplace is, “…the massive weight saving.” It weighs just over 12-tonne, meaning it is, “…anywhere from 600kg to almost 2-tonne lighter than the other electric bus products on the market, allowing for a much higher capacity of passengers, and longer driving range, hence how we can achieve greater figures than our opposition.”
The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) are national standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions, the Australian Federal Government explains.
The ADRs are generally performance based and cover issues such as occupant protection, structures, lighting, noise, engine exhaust emissions, braking and a range of miscellaneous items, it adds.
The current standards, the Third Edition ADRs, are administered by the Australian Government under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, it confirms. The Act requires all road vehicles – whether they are newly manufactured in Australia or are imported as new or second hand vehicles – to comply with the relevant ADRs at the time of manufacture and supply to the Australian market, it states.
Photography: courtesy Custom-Denning