AUSSIE BUS MANUFACTURER Custom-Denning is planning to export a version of its recently released Element electric bus into the UK market circa mid-to-late 2022, according to reports out of Britain.
As reported by British bus publication routeone recently, the first zero-emissions Element ZE bus platform for single-deck UK use as a demonstrator will likely be followed by a hydrogen fuel-cell electric bus soon after.
Custom Denning is well advanced in making the Element e-bus, with six 12.5m battery-electric ADR-spec Element prototypes made, one of which ABC magazine has test driven as a world exclusive for its forthcoming Issue 403, due out late March 2021.
As reported by routeone, production “…will start shortly and a prototype hydrogen fuel cell-electric model will be complete by August.”
Custom-Denning is also developing the 10.2m and 11.8m platforms that managing director Scott Dunn says will form the UK offering, it explains. A maximum passenger capacity of around 80 is expected, it adds.
Custom Denning is currently developing the Element at 10.2m and 11.8m lengths to suit the UK market, routeone reports.
It adds: “Battery chemistries for the UK are not yet finalised. In hot weather testing, with a simulated full load and with air-conditioning in use, the Element has delivered a range of over 500km with 378kW/h solid state batteries,” Dunn confirmed with the publication.
Minor design changes will be made to suit UK regulations; the Element will be available in one- and two-door format and it will be competitively priced, explained Dunn.
Routeone continues: “While early examples for the UK will be built in Australia, he anticipates establishing a plant in Europe ‘quickly’. “Locally based support will be provided from the start.”
It adds that much of the Element’s componentry – including batteries, control equipment, steel framing and its ZF axles and steering – is already sourced from Europe.
Energy storage in the battery-electric model is on the roof and at the rear, but different chemistries should later permit batteries to be within the floor, the report explains. Charging is via a standard CCS2 connector, it adds.
UK-born Dunn purchased bodybuilder Custom Bus Australia (nee Custom Coaches) in 2018 and chassis manufacturer Queensland-based Denning in 2019 to effectively merge them as ‘Custom Denning’.
The lightweight Denning chassis is key to the overall Custom Element e-bus concept, which uses an all-new body design.
Photography: courtesy Custom-Denning