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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.

DOU­BLE-DECK E-BUSES?

“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.”

THE BAT­TER­IES

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.

LO­CAL JOBS

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.

OEM SUP­PLY

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.

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