Bustech secures multi-million dollar Malaysia electric bus project

Gold Coast bus manufacturer, Bustech, part of Transit Australia Group (TAG), has been chosen as the lead design and manufacturing partner for a $170 million electric bus project, CEO Michael McGee announced today.

Mr McGee said the project was a ground-breaking partnership that would position Bustech as an innovative regional leader in the use of renewable energy for b uses.

“The E-Bus project is an international research and development project co-funded by the Malaysian and Australian players and governments, which aims to develop an electric bus for trial operations in Malaysia.

“Bustech has been selected due to its reputation as the leading bus design, engineering and manufacturing business in Australia.”

Bustech has partnered with Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) (a Malaysian government body), Swinburne University of Technology and AutoCRC and a private Malaysian company to develop and test the E-Bus project in Malaysia.

Swinburne University is providing the electric bus technology to the project and will work closely with Bustech through the trials of the prototype vehicle.

On the Gold Coast to inspect the Bustech facility, Malaysian Automotive Institute CEO Mr Madani Sahari said if successful, the electric bus could be exported to other countries.

“This partnership is a win-win for both Australia and Malaysia because it develops opportunities that have benefits for both countries,” he said.

Mr Sahari said that Malaysian industry was spending 500 million ringgit ($AUD170 million) on establishing an electric bus public transport system, including infrastructure such as charging stations.

“This project will position Malaysia and Australia as regional leaders. We don’t believe having everything centric to one country. We can’t. In this era of globalisation we need to work with a partner and this is a smart partnership.”

The project is also a direct outcome from the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA).

“Without the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement this wouldn’t have happened,” Mr Shari said. “It’s a win-win for both countries and we have the world as our market place.”

Transit Australia Group is working closely with a Malaysia manufacturer in exploring opportunities to commercialise the technology.

“Transit Australia Group has long recognised unique opportunities available under free trade agreements in the region and sees the strategic importance of Asia as an emerging market,” said Mr McGee.

AutoCRC, whose role it is to identify and develop opportunities for the Australian automotive industry, helped broker the deal by bringing the MAI and Bustech together.

AutoCRC research director Gary White said Bustech was well-suited to the project, with high-end capabilities in the manufacturing process.

“Our long-term vision at AutoCRC is to re-build manufacturing in Australia and this project is a perfect illustration, with Bustech’s manufacturing facility capable of delivering high-quality, innovative products,” Dr White said.

Queensland’s Minister for Transport and Main Roads, the Hon. Scott Emersen MP has thrown his support behind the project.

“It’s great to see a Queensland-based manufacturer succeeding on a regional scale, and for Bustech and Transit Australia Group to be recognised as experts in public transport solutions.”

The first bus is planned to roll of the production line in July 2015, with trials to begin in September.

Barrett Gibson