Posed shots of drivers undergoing training on Yutong electric buses at Penrith Depot - May 2023 Posed shots of drivers undergoing training on Yutong electric buses at Penrith Depot - May 2023 Driver Gordon Doalman with Penrith depot Assistant Operations Manager Jimmy Chen posing as an instructor.

Australian bus operator Busways has announced it has expanded its Sydney electric bus fleet to 18 zero emissions buses now on the road enabling the company to  claim it  now operates the second largest electric bus fleet in NSW.

Busways says it purchased the first 12 NSW-built Custom Denning Element electric buses in 2021 and has invested heavily in charging infrastructure at its Penrith depot over the past two years.

Managing director, Byron Rowe, says adding six new Yutong E12 electric buses to the Busways fleet in Penrith continues the journey to decrease carbon emissions.

“These new ZEBs are part of our plan to increase sustainable outcomes for local communities and contribute to NSW’s objectives of cutting emissions by 70% by 2035,” Rowe said.

“One electric bus saves up to 34 tonnes of Co2 emissions per annum locally – with 18 buses, each year we are preventing 620 tonnes of Co2 from entering the local atmosphere in Western Sydney, compared to a diesel bus.”

The news follows Busways’ recent trials of various electric bus makes, including Volvo, BYD and Yutong.

Chris Wolf, chief operating officer, said Busways will continue to work closely with a range of manufacturers as electric vehicles are constantly evolving.

“We’ve always taken a partnership approach with manufacturers, providing advice and feedback from our employees and customers and working with manufacturers to improve aspects like drivability, dashboards, security and accessibility,” Wolf said.

“The Yutong’s have the ability to recharge in around three hours – we will closely monitor charging and range of these vehicles in Western Sydney conditions,” he said.

“Efficient ZEB fleets are all about charging management. The scalable charging infrastructure we installed over the last two years at Penrith is the key to being able to add these and future new electric buses.”

Busways has already trained more than 80 drivers and seven mechanics on the new vehicles with more drivers undergoing training in late May.

Four of the Yutong electric buses also started service in May with the rest to be running soon.