BCI and Custom share Sydney hybrid tender

Two of Australia’s biggest bus suppliers share the spoils of a tender just announced by NSW Transport to get more hybrids onto Sydney’s streets

BCI and Custom share Sydney hybrid tender
BCI and Custom share Sydney hybrid tender

By David Goeldner | August 24, 2010

NSW Transport has awarded a shared tender to bus builders BCI and Custom Coaches to trial fuel-efficient hybrid buses in Sydney next year.

Badged under the NSW EcoBus program, the two companies will deliver different hybrid technologies which will be compared over a 12 month period starting in early 2011.

Bus and Coach International’s Marketing and Relations Manager Michelle Nazzari says BCI’s experience counted when it came to a choice by the NSW Government of which suppliers should be awarded the tender.

"BCI has more hybrids on the road than any other bus manufacturer in Australia," Nazzari says.

The EcoBus being built by BCI uses parallel technology involving a diesel engine and an electric motor that can operate simultaneously or independently, depending on conditions.

The Custom Coaches EcoBus will run on a small diesel generator, which either charges the buses’ electric battery or provides power directly to the electric motor if the battery is full.

Nazzari says her company welcomes the opportunity given by Transport NSW to trial the BCI hybrid in Sydney, which is based on seven similar units currently operating in Victoria.

"We are using the proven BCI-Eaton Hybrid combination which has a simple operation system that provides minimal fuel consumption," she says.

NSW Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Frank Sartor says hybrid buses are already being used in many parts of Europe.

"This trial will help determine their suitability for operating in Sydney conditions," Sartor says.

"The operators will not just be testing the hybrid fuel systems, they will also be comparing innovative vehicle designs."

He says the NSW Government has committed $250 million towards replacing older buses with more fuel-efficient buses.

The EcoBus tender is about $1million.

Nazarri says BCI, through Bus and Coach International, has been working at NSW market penetration.

"With some large private contracts in NSW and so many BCI hybrids in operation nationally it is difficult to ignore us in the hybrid market," she says.

"Obviously our objective is to sell product and we acknowledge that it is important to have product out there so it can be evaluated in the field."

BCI’s hybrid bus to be trialled in Sydney next year is already in build, and will be delivered to the NSW Government in January.

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