TFNSW-ENDORSED ELECTRIC BUS TRIAL ‘EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE’

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: Paul Aldridge + courtesy Yutong Australia


BREAKING: Concluding earlier than the nominated six months, results from a government-sanctioned trial of a Yutong E12 electric bus on the NSW South Coast left experts “extremely impressed”, according to a final report delivered to Transport for NSW, recently.

TFNSW-ENDORSED ELECTRIC BUS TRIAL ‘EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE’
The Yutong E12 electric bus trial provided 'impressive results' even though the route was perhaps more suited to diesel bus operation.

Having entered service on February 4 and concluding its widely publicised trial with Nowra-based Premier Transport Group – on behalf of TfNSW as part of its commitment to a minimum 10 per cent of new government fleet vehicles being electric or hybrid from 2020/21 – the E12 e-bus left trial organisers "…extremely impressed with the Yutong electric bus and charging system."

Speaking exclusively to ABC magazine after the trial, the Compliance, Workplace Safety and Contract manager for the Premier Transport Group, Greg Abel, said: "It was amazing how well a system emerged and how consistent this remained throughout the trial."

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"I had some issues during the trial, but this was with the electricity supplier and had nothing to do with the bus or charger as such," he explained.

"I was presently pleased with the results considering that I believe the route trialled was not suited to the electric bus and more suited to diesel bus operation."

"In very general terms, the bus used approximately 0.97 kWh per km at a maximum kWh charge of 0.2861 cents per kWh."

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OVERALL SIGNIFICANCE

Premier Transport Group was the first operator in Australia to trial Yutong’s new electric bus for an expected six months, as endorsed by the NSW Government.

At the time, prior to the 2019 March State election, then Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance and then Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey announced the government’s Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan.

"This commitment means NSW will have the largest government fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles in Australia," Minister Constance said.

"It sends a clear signal of confidence to electric vehicle manufacturers and local consumers will also benefit by greater access to a wider choice of affordable electric vehicles in the future."

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OTHER TRIALS

As stated at the time, an important part of the plan was to foster the development of electric bus services, with a number of trials to begin shortly, led by the private bus industry and government, including a new market sounding.

"Electric vehicles are here, they are cheaper to fuel and maintain, but we need to keep developing the network and charging infrastructure to further drive their uptake," Minister Constance said.

More recently, industry sources indicated to ABC magazine that the E12 is now, or soon to be, moved to Sydney for another trial in a full city environment, believed to be Region 6 as operated by Transit Systems.

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WHAT WAS INVOLVED

Abel explained exclusively to ABC magazine prior to its start that the electric bus would operate on route 737 between Bomaderry rail and Kiama station, Monday to Friday.

The route was split directly with a diesel bus, so that Premier could get a direct comparison. The entire service was 480km per day and each bus was to do three complete rotations of 240km plus relocation.

The intent of the electric bus trial was to obtain data in regards to all aspects of operations pertaining to Australian conditions to enable relevant parties to evaluate and assess numerous issues from cost to future needs and direction he said.

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