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NSW electric bus program: another 79 clean busses takes fleet to 101


A new order of 79 buses will help push the NSW public transport network to a greener position in 2022

The New South Wales (NSW) state government will spend $70 million to continue transitioning its Sydney public transport fleet to green tech with an additional investment in electric buses.

Complementing the existing 22 electric buses that operate on the Sydney public transport network, Sydney-based coachbuilder Custom Denning will construct a further 79 EV buses.

The 79 buses are intended to operate within Sydney’s inner west suburbs and will reduce both air and noise pollution when compared to a traditional diesel/natural gas bus.

Adding 79 new vehicles will push the total number of electric buses in Sydney to 101 when deliveries are completed. 

NSW EV bus driving around town
One of the first fully electric buses to operate in Sydney

The overall plan is for the government to transition the entire 8000-plus bus fleet to operate solely off electricity in the medium-term. Electric buses have already been trialed across Sydney over the last year, with the first being operated in Bondi.

How does NSW’s electric bus effort compare to the rest of Australia and the world?

Queensland has also been busy at work trying to find more emissions-friendly ways to operate its bus fleet. 

In August 2021, the Queensland Government announced its first deal to create the state’s first electric bus depot, with an overall plan in place that by 2025, every new bus rolled out across the state will be zero-emissions, followed by transitioning the entire fleet to electric by 2030. 

The investment will begin with the production of 16 new buses which will operate on the Gold Coast. 

In South Australia, work is underway to transition 45 of the state’s diesel rail cars to hybrid power, while 20 new buses have been ordered – 17 of which are hybrid electric. While it is only a relatively small investment to begin with, this is set to grow dramatically as the years roll on. 

NSW EV bus fleet
The NSW electric bus fleet will grow rapidly with the new investment

In October 2021, the Victorian government awarded a Melbourne-based company $2.3 billion over nine years to operate a fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles in the transport network. 

By mid-2025, the plan is for 36 buses to be introduced into the network. By 2031, 341 out of 537 buses will be replaced by low or zero emissions variants. 

What about the rest of the world?

China leads the way in terms of electric bus operation. In 2016, the country was registering 360 electric buses a day. 

By the end of 2017, there were 385,000 electric buses in operation across China. According to Sustainable Bus, roughly 98 percent of electric buses globally are deployed in Chinese cities. 

Europe has a long way to go with around 4000 buses running on full electric or hybrid power. Even the United States played its part, however only around 450 buses were e-buses. 

When comparing Australia to China or Europe, it is clear we have a long way to go, but if government investments are successful, we could see a lot more electric buses on our roads as we approach 2030.