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Yutong exceeds excellence with new C12 models

When Yutong submitted its application for its three new C12 models, including the electric C12E, to receive ADR approval, it wasn’t expecting to clear all the hurdles in one perfect process. Just 60 days later, the exciting variants were given the green light to be mass-produced in Australia.

When Yutong Australia first submitted its new C12 range of buses to the federal government for testing, it didn’t expect to meet the stringent codes on the first go.

Yutong submitted the documentation in September last year for all C12 models, including the C12 diesel model in both 6.7 litre and 8.9 litre options, as well as the exciting new electric C12E range, to apply for Australian Design Rules (ADR) approval.

In the meantime, Yutong received an exemption to display its new C12E vehicle at October’s Bus & Coach Expo in Sydney. In the aftermath of this significant event, upon returning to their new headquarters in Prestons, New South Wales, Yutong Australis workers received a pleasant surprise.

“We found out that our submission for ADR compliance went through on the very first go,” VDI Australia Product, Zero-Emissions Bus (ZEB) and New Technologies Manager Luke Edwards told ABC. “It’s not very common for that to happen immediately within the standard 60-day timeframe, as typically Canberra comes back with questions.

“We were fortunate to gain full ADR approval for our entire C12 range, including the C12E, on the first attempt.”

At the Expo, the VDI Australia team couldn’t legally drive the C12E. ADR compliance now allows the brand to begin test drives and demos with the public. It was an exciting Christmas gift for Yutong to receive as a reward for a productive 2022.

Edwards says receiving the email granting ADR compliance serves as a significant step forward for the brand. He says the 53-passenger vehicle is incredibly light, allowing for a 350KwH battery system and 95kg for its passengers and driver.

“As far as I know, it’s the only EV in the CAT4 category with that capability,” Edwards says. “It’s not only the lightest in the market that we know about, but it also has the safest battery and impact protection system – nobody is doing battery safety like we are.

“Yutong prides itself on how safe its vehicles are regarding internal and external crash protection. It’s a great milestone for Yutong in Australia.”

Gaining full ADR compliance for any new vehicle can be difficult in itself. Having three separate variants with differing fuel sources and compiling all the correct documentation requires a lot of work.

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Edwards says VDI Australia ensured it had all the required diesel and electric information including relevant documentation for brake testing.

For VDI Australia general manager Lou Riccardi, receiving ADR compliance allows Yutong to move into its following stages on the C12 vehicles faster than predicted.

“We’re now ready and able to mass produce these vehicles as we speak,” Riccardi told ABC. “We’ll start by doing our trials first, but if anyone wants to purchase the new C12 or C12E as a school bus, mine, or coach operation, we’re happy to oblige.

“Our message to the industry is that as of January this year, the C12E is ready for mass production and delivery.”

Instead of relaxing into the Christmas period, VDI has been busy setting up trials with Australian customers. The VDI Australia general manager says all new C12 models are the same except for their power unit, which differs from diesel engines to battery electric power.

Riccardi is excited to now receive feedback from the local market.

“Our sales staff have done their bit and identified customers who want to participate in the trial with us,” Riccardi says. “We anticipate having four demo vehicles spread across Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.

“We’ll be using more than one vehicle for the demos. We’re taking the bull by the horns so operators can feel, touch and trial our C12E electric bus. They’ll be able to see how it performs and meets their needs.”

Riccardi says the C12 products will display and further cement Yutong’s quality, reliability and innovation. Regarding the trials with the C12E, operators will have an excellent opportunity to experience what an electric vehicle can do. Riccardi is adamant operators will be pleasantly surprised when they test drive the C12E.

Riccardi says VDI’s goal is to have its entire product range available in electric in the near future.

“By the end of 2023, the vision will become a reality,” Riccardi says. “We’ve already provided the two different models for our city and school buses. The next stage is electrifying our new D7 model and a few more new models we’ll consider bringing out.”

Riccardi is looking at niche areas in the local market for new vehicles to partner Yutong’s existing electric vehicles. VDI Australia has already identified gaps in the industry that it’s targeting. Riccardi says he expects two new Yutong models to be released this year.

From Edwards’s technical and service perspective, he’s looking forward to the feedback the brand will receive from test drives. Having been the first person to drive the C12E model in Australia legally, he knows customers will be in for a smooth ride.

“It’s an imposing vehicle that’s nice to drive and comfortable,” Edwards says. “I actually think Yutong are well past trials with its vehicles, but we want to get customers confident in the vehicle and our technology.

“We recently had one customer drive the C12E – they were blown away by the experience.”

Edwards says the C12E has excellent acceleration for drivers without the noise generally associated with a diesel model. He says Yutong has sped the acceleration up on the C12E and the trials will help dictate whether customers love this change or whether tweaks need to be made.

Either way, Edwards knows the C12E, alongside its other C12 variants, will be a hit in 2023.

“The C12 models look very impressive and have the largest and most efficient air-conditioning systems in Australia,” Edwards says. “Yutong prides itself on ensuring that every vehicle it produces is 100 per cent perfect when it reaches customers.

“These new models will provide the typical Yutong quality that Australia has come to expect.”

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