Bustech selects Proterra Powered as battery technology supplier for new electric transit bus in Australia

Aug. 24, 2020
The new partnership represents the first Proterra Powered vehicle outside the North American market.

Proterra and Bustech have announced a new collaboration to manufacture Bustech’s all-electric ZDi 12.5-meter (41-foot) transit bus utilizing Proterra’s battery technology platform.

The partnership represents Proterra’s entry into the Australian market and will be the company’s first Proterra Powered™ battery electric vehicle operating outside North America.

Under the partnership, Bustech will incorporate Proterra’s battery technology into the ZDi’s integrated chassis systems. The Proterra battery system powering the all-electric ZDi transit bus will feature 450 kWh of energy capacity that will enable an estimated 325 km (202 miles) of drive range on a single charge. The vehicle can fully charge in about two hours.

“Everybody within our organization is extremely excited to be in a partnership with Proterra. Since I joined Bustech as CEO in January 2020, we have focused on creating a business and engineering environment which is ready for the adoption of the technology advancements that will drive our industry forward,” said Bustech CEO Thinus Steyn. “We have upskilled the group over the last six months with the capacity and capability to bring the ZDi Proterra Powered electric vehicle to market in early 2021 and have a significant number of orders in the pipeline which we have been working on in advance of the announcement of our partnership.”

Proterra battery packs incorporate features such as liquid cooling with an active thermal management system that will ensure optimal charging and maximize battery life by maintaining a constant battery temperature in Australia’s demanding climate, according to Proterra.

The technical partnership will use Proterra’s battery technology while ensuring overall vehicle manufacturing and assembly is consistent with local supply chains in Australia. Operating as a core technology partner, Proterra will provide training and development support to strengthen Bustech’s in-country service network and experience with the battery product.

“Proterra is excited to take our battery technology and expertise to the Australian transit market with Bustech,” said Jack Allen, Proterra CEO and chairman. “Our best-in-class battery technology platform has been proven in more than 13 million service miles driven by our fleet of battery-electric transit buses in the United States and Canada. Now, we look forward to delivering the benefits of Proterra Powered clean, quiet electric vehicles to even more people around the world.”

Proterra says its batteries are manufactured with safety mechanisms built directly into the battery architecture and have undergone extensive testing to meet the exacting safety standards. Proterra battery systems incorporate Proterra’s technology, monitoring sensors throughout the battery pack and passive propagation resistance, which isolates individual battery cells in the rare case of a thermal event to prevent wider spread.

“We have been really impressed with the battery technology from Proterra, with its energy density and inbuilt control system. This will translate into a vehicle with unparalleled performance and safety,” said Gregg Dinning, Bustech CTO. “Our aim is to introduce product which is deployable into operating network without having to remodel the full fleet or depot service model. By delivering an estimated 325 km range per drive cycle, we can support operators through adoption and roll out of full electric vehicles, based on the battery energy levels, whilst acknowledging and dealing with the specific climatic conditions we face in Australia.”

Bustech has undertaken significant market analysis to engage and review critical technical partnerships which introduce best-in-class technology to the Australasian market, while also offering unparalleled aftermarket support, says Proterra. The partnership with Proterra will deliver a vehicle designed for maximum range, and support Bustech’s commitment to creating local jobs and engaging the local supply chain.

“This relationship reflects the intended transformation within the current market. Being able to bring a U.S. technology company like Proterra to Australia is a fantastic opportunity to assist in the rapid growth expectations and maturing of BEVs in Australia,” said Christian Reynolds, group managing director at Bustech & Precision Buses. “Our ethos is to collaborate with partners who are leaders in their field and Proterra fits that mold. Together with Proterra, we have aspirations to quickly scale in the market with our integrated body and chassis and Proterra’s battery solution. We see this solution scaling across all variants of vehicle within our range, including articulated and double decker buses. This is very much a collaboration and we look forward to maturing the relationship into the future.”