First NSW-built electric bus hits the street

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The first locally manufactured electric bus began a two week trial in Sydney’s east Friday as the NSW government ramps up its plan to convert its entire bus fleet to electric by 2030.

The NSW government last December confirmed it would convert all of its 8,000 buses to electric, starting with 50 in Sydney this year.

Before Friday, the electrification of the NSW fleet has been through either the conversion of existing diesel buses or with electric buses built overseas.

electric bus
On Trial: Element electric bus with Andrew Constance, Gabrielle Upton and Howard Collins

“The State’s first trial of a locally built electric bus takes us closer to an emissions free future and supports hundreds of local jobs, which is an amazing outcome for NSW,” Transport minister Andrew Constance said.

The bus was designed, manufactured and assembled by Custom Denning in St Marys in Sydney. The so-called ‘Element’ e-bus can run for approximately 16 hours on a full charge or 450 kilometres.

The trial bus will run between Bondi Beach and Bronte and is free for passengers during the trial.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and member for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton said the trial had obvious benefits for the environment.

“Our Government is getting closer to securing a cleaner, healthier future for the people of NSW and it’s very exciting that the first of these locally-made electrics buses are being trialled in my electorate,” Ms Upton said.

“Charging infrastructure will be installed soon at the Waverley Bus Depot, which will help future bus operators in the Eastern Suburbs plug into the electric revolution.”

The manufacturer of the Element e-bus, Custom Denning, welcomed the trial and government support.

“The NSW Government has supported our business since I purchased it three years ago, now we can help them build a better future for both commuters and the environment,” said Custom Denning managing director Scott Dunn.

“Being able to rebuild the business from our St Marys factory has allowed us to employ more than 200 locals and keep skilled manufacturing jobs in Australia.”

The state began seeking proposals to shift Sydney’s entire 8,000 strong bus fleet to an all-electric fleet in 2019, marking one of NSW’s first major policies in line with its net zero by 2050 plan.

As part of the 2021 rollout, a further 70 electric buses are on order from Truegreen’s Nexport, which is setting up a manufacturing facility in the southern Highlands.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

  1. A. Fox-Russell 3 years ago

    Wow Ralph – I bet you are a lot of fun at parties

  2. Ralph Walton 3 years ago

    Hi there, And this range of 450 kms for the eBus is its brand new capacity that being fully loaded with how many passengers?
    And I assume they carrying capacity will shrink over relatively short periods. How much weight is the carrying capacity of the bus compromised ( or how many commuters less in the new bus) by the massive increase in nett weight of the battery? How much does the battery cost and what is it’s expected lifespan? We all know that batteries degrade annually. Will batteries be replaced at 80% efficiency or at what intervals? Will the fare structures remain the same or will the taxpayer pick up the tab for any increases?

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