Bus Industry News, Seats, Technology

NPP brings latest Eberspacher electric AC to Australia

After steadily building up business in the spare parts sector, National Parts and Products is taking on a new venture with the release of Eberspacher’s latest electric AC units in Australasia.

Since establishing itself in May 2015, National Parts and Products (NPP) has become a valuable part of the Victorian and broader Australian bus and coach spare parts market. Operating out of Geelong, Victoria, NPP has spent the past eight years representing German vehicle manufacturer Eberspacher as a replacement parts supplier and approved service agent in Australia.

Solid growth is set to pay off for NPP, who is now expanding its partnership with Eberspacher to grow its product offerings in Australasia.

This means NPP will now sell Eberspacher air-conditioning units, including a special electric model, to the Australian bus and coach market.

“We’ve represented Eberspacher since day one of starting our business,” NPP director and general manager Bob Chapman told ABC.

“We first focused on spare parts sales, which is our principal background and the main part of our business.

“We’ve now decided to expand with Eberspacher and delve further into the movement of finished goods.”

It’s a major move for NPP as Chapman looks to solidify its reputation as the leading Eberspacher supplier in the Australasian region.  

It’s doing so by signing a new deal with the German manufacturer to bring a broader range of Eberspacher products into the Australasian bus and coach industry. The agreement means NPP will now sell Eberspacher air-conditioning units and HVAC systems in both conventional and electric models to the local market.

While NPP will still be at its heart a spare parts specialist, it’ll now branch out.

Chapman says the prime product coming from NPP will be the Eberspacher AC136 G4 all-electric AC unit for larger buses, which provides 25 to 35kW of zero-emissions power.

“This move is us dipping our toe in the water and trying to expand with what Eberspacher wants to release in Australia,” Chapman says.

“The bus and coach industry in Australasia is very pro-electric currently, so the AC136 electric model is what we’ll try and use to maximise our business.”

Two other models will be included in the expansion, with the AC136 to be joined by the AC125-135 conventional unit for smaller buses, providing up to 25 to 30kW of power, and the AC353 G5 conventional unit for larger buses that can provide between 30 and 50kW of both heating and cooling.

Although it’s a big step for Eberspacher and NPP in Australia, these products aren’t a sudden surprise to the region. In recent years, NPP has helped supply Eberspacher diesel heaters to the local market, while hundreds of existing Eberspacher units, such as the 320/353 G4 and AC515 units, are already fitted on BCI and Optaire buses in Australia.

If Chapman wants reassurance that this move is the right one, he only needs to look as far as diesel heaters. In recent years, the introduction of Eberspacher diesel heaters has provided solid business for NPP alongside its spare parts expertise.

This move is a logical progression for NPP to give local bodybuilders access to Eberspacher’s reliable and reputable products.

“We’ve spoken about this move off and on since 2015, but we just weren’t ready in those early days to begin selling the finished product,” Chapman says.

“The announcement of Peter Lim as Eberspacher’s new south-east Asian regional director means we’ve been more proactive in getting these products moving in the area.

“We’re now trying to get these Eberspacher products registered and approved in New South Wales before we do this in other states and territories.”

Chapman says he’s excited to have new products to sell and the potential it has to boost the business in Australia.

Chapman says NPP will now become another member of the Australian AC market and he’s confident that Eberspacher’s reputation globally will help boost the number of NPP systems onboard Australian buses.

“There’s a lot of buses coming into Australia already fitted with both Chinese and European models, so we’ll try our best to persuade people to opt for Eberspacher systems instead,” he says.

“The AC136 electric model is our major offering that we’ll promote for government route buses. This model can help reduce operators’ carbon footprints so we’ll ensure people get the chance to try Eberspacher’s trusted German technology.”

A major part of NPP’s recent growth is the reputable nature of Eberspacher in Australia. With the German technology well accepted and working smoothly down under, its new electric foray in Australasia has the potential to get off to a fast start.

Chapman’s year is now laid out at the helm of NPP. This year will be dedicated to the project of boosting the AC136 electric AC model in Australasia and preparing for a potential expansion of other products in 2024 and beyond.

If this happens, Chapman is already prepared to grow his team, looking at hiring someone to manage the existing spare parts business if the AC side begins to excel.

Whatever happens in the coming years, Chapman knows this decision to take a leap of faith is something he won’t regret.

“It’s such an exciting move for NPP and it’s wonderful to step out of our comfort zone in the spare parts side of the business and go into something new,” Chapman says.

“We’re looking forward to getting these new products onto Australian buses. I hope people who currently have Eberspacher models on their fleets stand by it and try this new electric AC.

“It’s all hinged on us handling this growth and its processes well. I’m excited to start off with this expansion and continue moving forward.”

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