First all-Aus electric bus

By: Steve Skinner

A space-age Bustech electric low-floor bus has been revealed at the 2015 BusVic Expo

First all-Aus electric bus
The Bustech ZDi was unveiled at the 2015 BusVic Expo in Melbourne on July 8

What its backers say is the first electric bus to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia has been unveiled.

The electric urban bus went on show at the 2015 BusVic Expo at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on July 8.

The futuristic vehicle has been developed by Queensland manufacturer Bustech, which is part of Transit Australia Group.

Transit Australia Group CEO Michael McGee says the bus uses the most advanced battery and regenerative braking technology, and is a "game changer".

"Our environmentally friendly electric bus is the future of public transport," McGee says.

"The single level bus is controlled by touch screen and has unique technology that maximises vehicle range without compromising on passenger capacity and comfort.

"The bus can be charged at the depot and whilst in service, and with zero carbon emissions it is ideal for Australia’s major centres and regional cities."

McGee says he’s hopeful Australian governments will invest in infrastructure that will see the electric bus become a reality on Australian roads.

"Governments across the globe have already invested in electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support private and public transport," he says.

"Our electric bus places Bustech at the forefront of a fast-growing and emerging industry. Australia has an opportunity to be a world leader and cut environmental pollution at the same time."  

McGee says the manufacturing cost is comparable to a traditional diesel bus, and the process allows batteries to be retrofitted as advances in battery technology occur.

He says maintenance costs are 80 per cent less than for a diesel bus across a lifetime.

Bustech’s electric bus project has been supported by the Australian Government , through the Automotive Cooperative Research Centre (AutoCRC) and the CSIRO. It’s also been supported by Swinburne University of Technology and the Malaysian Government .

Malaysian Automotive Institute CEO M. Madani Sahari says the project will "reshape" public transport.

"Malaysia is spending 500 million ringgit ($AUD170 million) on establishing an electric bus system based on Bustech’s vehicle launched today," he says.

Bustech says the 11.8 metre long vehicle carries more than 50 passengers.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the ABC e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook