A prototype all-electric bus that its developers say can be driven from Melbourne to Sydney on a single charge was unveiled in Melbourne on Friday, ahead of a road-test on Saturday that will see it undertake the interstate journey.
The launch, held at Yuroke, one hour north of Melbourne’s CBD, by Australia-based company Brighsun, showcased a total of four prototype full electric buses ranging from high range capacity route service passenger buses to touring coaches.
Federal environment minister Greg Hunt attended the launch, and confirmed that the bus was officially certified, to international standards, to drive a huge 1004km on one charge. The next biggest range our research efforts could find for an electric bus was less than half of that, at about 402km, in a US model.
The buses run on a high performance lithium-ion battery combined with proprietary eMotor, battery management and a regenerative braking system.
Brighsun CEO Allen Saylav, also a director of the Society of Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE), said the technology behind the bus – in development for four years – had evolved from a desire to deliver clean, sustainable public transport options.
“We believe this technology could change the face of public transport around the world and with the use of the eVehicle propulsion system which creates long lasting life in vehicles,” Saylav said.
The company also has plans to open manufacturing plants for the e-buses across Australia. There was no information available, as yet, on the charging technology the buses will use, or the source of electricity, although comments from the company suggest renewable energy could be a part of the plan.
“New energy is key to Australia’s auto industry revitalisation,” said Saylav, “and we believe the eBus is the first step in the right direction for this to happen.
“We chose the heavy commercial passenger vehicle to showcase how high performance could be achieved in larger transportation options,” as well as in passenger cars.
Also attending the launch were delegates from the US, the Middle East and Asia, as well as key industry players including representatives from VLine, Fleet Partners and SkyBus.
*Update (12/11/15): A Brighsun spokesperson tells us the bus made the trip to Sydney successfully (see photo below), and we will be speaking to Saylav about the details of the journey, and for a general interview, in the coming week.