EV News was recently invited to preview the largest fleet of electric buses in Australia. Built by airport bus operator Carbridge in partnership with Gemiland coachworks and BYD, the new fleet of six battery powered buses are owned by Sydney Airport Corporation Limited as part of a $5 million investment in environmentally friendly ground transportation technology.
With a carrying capacity of 70 passengers, each bus has a range of 500 kilometres, making up to 100 transfer journeys on a single charge. The fleet will provide transportation for over two million travellers, visitors and airport workers who use the Blu Emu shuttle service every year.
The Electric Blu Toro buses, manufactured by a joint venture between BYD & Carbridge, feature custom Gemiland bus-bodies fabricated from aero-grade aluminium for significant weight reduction. The BYD chassis comprises a ZF front axle and a ZF clone rear axle featuring dual 90 kW / 350 Nm water cooled permanent magnet wheel-hub traction motors. A maximum motor shaft speed of 7,500 rpm coupled to the rear wheels via a two stage 17.7 to 1 planetary gear hub provides surprisingly rapid acceleration and a top speed of 70 km/h.
Energy storage is via a 324 kWh BYD iron phosphate battery with the pack split between the forward roof and rear engine compartment zones connected in parallel for a bus voltage of 400 vdc. Dual BYD 40 kW Mennekes AC chargers provide 80 kW fast charging via the dual traction inverters. Currently 6x grid connected charging stations top up the fleet overnight but solar power is the long term plan.
The new electric blu buses will replace the airport’s existing diesel bus fleet servicing the 7 km shuttle route between the T2/T3 terminal precinct and the Blu Emu Car Park.