GOLD COAST, Queensland, Australia, May 17, 2017 (ENS) - Transit Australia Group’s manufacturing arm Bustech just made history by securing a contract to manufacture 100 low emission buses for the Metro network being built in Tasmania, Australia's island state.
The A$45 million deal signed in April marks the single biggest investment in public transport in Tasmania’s history and the first time any Australian government has procured buses made entirely in Australia.
Based in the Gold Coast in the state of Queensland, Bustech is Australia’s only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) with each bus built using chassis designed, engineered and made in-house.
Lightweight Bustech buses are fuel-efficient, saving roughly three liters (.8 gallon) of fuel per 100 kilometers (60 miles) more than competing bus manufacturers.
The first wave of new buses for Tasmania's Metro fleet will be completed over the next 12 months.
To fulfill the Metro contract, Bustech will partner with Tasmanian company Elphinstone Pty Ltd on the island state’s northwest coast to utilize existing capabilities, providing a boost to local manufacturing. The four-year project is expected to create 40 full-time jobs in Tasmania.
It is a similar formula to that which Bustech applied successfully in South Australia, after forming a strategic partnership with Precision Components, a company based in the city of Adelaide.
This alliance secured a government grant supporting the manufacture of environmentally-friendly buses, including electric buses, for trial across Adelaide’s public transport network. Now, a further 50 buses are on order for Adelaide.
Transit Australia Group CEO Michael McGee said, "In 2015 we successfully launched Australia’s first electric bus," he said. "In Adelaide we are developing advanced manufacturing capabilities to produce next generation, environmentally-friendly diesel and electric buses for the Australian market."
Adding to Bustech’s primary plant in Queensland, the new ventures provide a lift to Bustech’s annual production capacity, boosting the company’s ability to supply national and international markets.
"We are delighted that the Tasmanian Government has recognized the superior build and weight reductions associated with our innovative XDI manufactured chassis," McGee said. "It’s also great to see them support and encourage local jobs and skills growth in advanced manufacturing."
Elphinstone Executive General Manager Lee Whiteley said, "The advanced manufacturing training and skills developed through the Metro project, together with our existing expertise, will be important in securing other opportunities in similar markets and sectors."
Already, there is interest from other markets. Bustech has signed a $170 million contract to design and build electric buses for the Malaysian government.
For this project, Bustech is partnering with Swinburne University of Technology, with the Malaysia Automotive Institute and with a private Malaysian company to develop and produce the buses, which will be tested in Malaysia later this year.
McGee told the "Gold Coast Bulletin" newspaper that Bustech would develop two prototype buses that would go through rigorous testing before production begins.
"Electric vehicles are the way of the future but one of the biggest drains is loss of battery power, especially through the use of air conditioning," he said. "We will put the prototype through all sorts of conditions to ensure it can operate in any environment, especially tropical conditions like Malaysia."
McGee said the deal places Bustech at the forefront of cutting-edge renewable energy design that will to see Gold -built electric buses exported to cities across the world.
PHOTO: Australian bus executives, from left: Elphinstone’s Executive General Manager Lee Whiteley, Tasmanian Transport Minister Rene Hidding and Transit Australia Group Chairman Luke Gray (Photo courtesy Transit Australia Group)