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NORTH AMERICAN electric bus innovator Proterra and Australian bus builder Bustech are to collaborate on making e-buses for the local market, the companies announced recently.
The selection of Proterra Powered battery technology for Bustech’s new ZDi 12.5-metre all-electric transit bus represents Proterra’s official entry into the Australian bus market, it states.
“Everybody within our organisation is extremely excited to be in a partnership with Proterra,” said Bustech CEO and ex-ZF executive Thinus Steyn.
“We have up-skilled the group over the last six months with the capacity and capability to bring the ZDi Proterra Powered electric vehicle to market in early 2021 and have a significant number of orders in the pipeline, which we have been working on in advance of the announcement of our partnership,” Steyn said.
Under the partnership, Bustech will incorporate Proterra’s battery technology into the single-deck ZDi’s integrated chassis systems, Bustech’s parent entity Australia Bus Corporation (ABC) confirms.
The Proterra battery system for the ZDi will feature 450kWh capacity, which will enable an estimated 325km of driving range on a single charge, the company claims. The vehicle can fully charge in about two hours, it adds.
“Our best-in-class battery technology platform has been proven in more than 13 million service miles driven by our fleet of battery electric transit buses in the United States and Canada. Now, we look forward to delivering the benefits of Proterra Powered clean, quiet electric vehicles to even more people around the world,” said Jack Allen, Proterra CEO and chairman.
Group managing director at Bustech and Precision Buses, Christian Reynolds, stated:
“This relationship reflects the intended transformation within the current market. Being able to bring a US technology company like Proterra to Australia is a fantastic opportunity to assist in the rapid growth expectations and maturing of BEVs in Australia.
“Together with Proterra, we have aspirations to quickly scale in the market. We see this solution scaling across all variants of vehicle within our range, including articulated and double-decker buses.”
According to Proterra, its battery packs incorporate advanced features such as liquid cooling with an active thermal management system that will ensure optimal charging and maximise battery life by maintaining a constant battery temperature in Australia’s demanding climate.
The technical partnership will use Proterra’s battery technology while ensuring overall vehicle manufacturing and assembly is consistent with local supply chains on shore in Australia, they state.
Operating as a core technology partner, Proterra will provide training and development support to strengthen Bustech’s in-country service network and experience with the battery product, ABC confirms.
Proterra batteries are manufactured with safety mechanisms built directly into the battery architecture and have undergone extensive testing to meet the exacting safety standards, the company says.
Proterra battery systems incorporate Proterra’s patented technology, monitoring sensors throughout the battery pack, and passive propagation resistance, which isolates individual battery cells in the rare case of a thermal event to prevent wider spread, it explains.
“We have been really impressed with the battery technology from Proterra, with its energy density and inbuilt control system. This will translate into a vehicle with unparalleled performance and safety,” said Gregg Dinning, Bustech’s chief technical officer.
“Our aim is to introduce product
“Our aim is to introduce product which is deployable into operating networks without having to remodel the full fleet or depot service model.”
which is deployable into operating networks without having to remodel the full fleet or depot service model.
“By delivering an estimated 325km range per drive cycle we can support operators through adoption and roll-out of full electric vehicles, based on the battery energy levels, whilst acknowledging and dealing with the specific climatic conditions we face in Australia,” Dinning added.
Established in 1995, Bustech developed the first electric bus in Australia and is recognised as a leader in innovation and electric vehicle product development in the Australasian market, it states.
In 2019, Bustech joined with the Australian Bus Corporation (ABC) to form the largest bus manufacturer in Australia.
The partnership with Proterra will deliver a vehicle designed for maximum range and support Bustech’s commitment to creating local jobs and engaging the local supply chain, it says.
Australia continues to be a global leader in adopting electric transit vehicles as more states and municipalities commit to bold transportation electrification targets, it highlights.
In 2019, the NSW State Government announced plans to transition its fleet of approximately 8,000 transit buses to all-electric.
Proterra Powered leverages Proterra’s electric vehicle technology and expertise to help commercial vehicle manufacturers electrify their vehicles, it says.
As an OEM that uses its own battery technology to power its fleet of heavy-duty electric transit buses, Proterra brings more than a decade of experience manufacturing, testing and delivering EVs, it states.
To date, Proterra Powered has helped world-class OEMs like Thomas Built Bus, Van Hool, FCCC, and Optimal-EV introduce 100 per cent battery-electric vehicles that are powered by Proterra electric vehicle technology, it confirms.