Australian bus manufacturer and logistics company Carbridge has announced plans to build a fleet of 40 new electric buses in partnership with Malaysian company Gemilang Coachworks and the Warren Buffet backed Chinese EV and battery maker, BYD.
The Electric Blu Toro buses, the product of a joint venture between BYD – which remains the world’s largest EV manufacturer – and Carbridge, feature custom Gemilang bus-bodies, BYD chassis and dual 90kW water cooled permanent magnet wheel-hub traction motors.
A 324 kWh BYD lithium iron phosphate battery pack split between the forward roof and rear engine compartment zones gives the 70-seat bus a range of 500 kilometres, or up to 100 transfer journeys on a single charge.
The 40 new Electric Blu buses – the contract for which was signed in late January – join a smaller fleet of six that have been in operation at Sydney Airport for nearly four months, having replaced the airport’s existing diesel bus fleet that serviced the 7km shuttle route between the T2/T3 terminal precinct and the long-term car park .
BYD Asia Pacific’s auto sales division general manager Liu Xueliang says the company is keen to tap growth in the Australian electric vehicle market.
“We are the first Chinese company to crack Australia’s electric bus market, having come a long way since the trial of our electric buses at the country’s busiest airport in Sydney in late 2014,” he says.
Carbridge is also the Australian distributor of BYD’s E6 electric car, which was launch here last May, initially targeting hire-car and taxi fleets.
BYD’s E6 is described as a “high-riding, all electric people mover”, with a battery pack of 75kWh, a range of 300kms, and a purchase price of around $80,000.
At the time, Carbridge CEO Luke Todd told CarAdvice that the Australian market had not yet warmed to auto brands out of China.
BYD founder and chief executive Wang Chuan-fu told RenewEconomy in January 2016 that he expects the global market for EVs to double in each of the next three years, although the company did not see itself as a competitor to Tesla.
“This is not about competiton. The market is so huge, it needs more people’s participation in the market. Tesla is targeting high end, there is a bit of an overlap, but we are focusing on electric cars and buses in different markets.”