Canberra’s electric buses UN cyber-certified: Chinese manufacturer

Public transport-loving public servants in Canberra will soon be able to catch a ride on fully electric battery-powered buses after the ACT government revealed it has ordered 90 Chinese-made Yutong ‘E12’ vehicles as part of its non-fossil fuel fleet replacement.

The double-digit order for the E12s comes as part of the territory’s Zero-Emission Transition Plan for Transport Canberra, which aims to have combustible fuel buses off the road and fully replaced by 2040.

“These new buses will deliver the biggest change in technology for Canberra’s bus fleet in decades,” said ACT minister for transport and city services Chris Steel.

“The ACT is a leader in zero emissions transport with the largest fleet of electric buses delivered per capita in our nation. This will transition more than 20% of our bus fleet to zero-emission technology, with the rest of the fleet transitioning by 2040 or earlier.”

But to speed up the transition, the ACT needs to buy what’s readily available – rather than Australian-made – to avoid waiting in line behind much bigger states now seeking to lure bus and heavy vehicle assembly factories to their jurisdictions to both supply their fleets and create jobs.

Transport Canberra says it expects to receive the first of the 94 electric buses in late 2023, and that they will be progressively delivered through to 2026.

Local manufacturers are definitely being given a look-in, with Steel saying Transport Canberra negotiating with Custom Denning to procure four ‘Element’ battery electric buses including charging infrastructure.

Volvo Bus Australia is also gearing up to sell its locally-made Volvo BZL Electric bus more widely, with order books filling quickly as fleet operators dump combustible fuel models as fast as they can.

Electric buses, like any buses, are not cheap to buy new, but they are a lot cheaper to run and maintain.

That’s because electric motors have a far simpler design — and moving parts — than internal combustion engines and accordingly don’t guzzle fuel. This said, bus depots need to be substantially modified to recharge e-buses because they can draw a lot more current directly from the…