BusTech

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BusTech Group
IndustryBus manufacturing
Founded1995; 27 years ago (1995)
FounderTony and Joe Calabro
Headquarters,
Key people
Christian Reynolds, Director and Chairman

Mathew Fitch, Director

Dan Marks, Director
OwnerFusion Capital Holdings
Websitebustechgroup.com.au

BusTech Group is an Australian bus-building manufacturer with production facilities in Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Edinburgh Adelaide, South Australia and Burnie, Tasmania. BusTech Group produces fully built up integral route buses, school buses and double deck buses and also produces single deck bus bodies, largely built on European chassis from manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Scania, predominantly under their VST model line.[1] As of 2022, BusTech Group was actively delivering new buses into Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the ACT.[2]

The company was originally established as Bustech in 1995 by the then owners of Gold Coast, Queensland bus operator, Surfside Buslines the Calabro family. Early production generally focused on producing low entry, route bus bodies with smaller numbers of school buses and charter/touring vehicles were also produced.

Bustech produced its first integral bus in 2007, a midi-sized route bus with production subsequently expanding into full size route and school buses by 2008. An urban double deck bus began production in 2011 and Australia's first locally engineered and built electric bus was completed by Bustech in 2015.[3]

Bustech formed part of the Transit Australia Group from 2008 under Calabro family ownership, until the latter was dissolved in 2019 upon the sale of bus operations to AATS Group.[4]

Bustech formed a joint venture agreement with Precision Components, owned by Fusion Capital and began producing buses under the Precision Buses name in 2017. In addition, Elphinstone Engineering in Tasmania began assembling buses under agreement in 2017.[5] Bustech and Precision Buses formalised a merger in 2019, with management of the two operations initially known as the Australian Bus Corporation.[6] The company was rebranded and relaunched as BusTech Group in December 2020.[7][8]

In February 2021 it was announced that a factory is being planned near Newcastle, New South Wales to build electric buses for New South Wales operators.[9][10]

History[edit]

Bustech bodied Mercedes-Benz O405NH of 2002 new to Connex NSW
Bustech VST body of 2010 built on a Volvo B7RLE chassis
Bustech XDi of 2012 with Cummins ISL engine operating on demonstration with Busabout
Bustech CDi of 2013 with Cummins ISL engine operating a 777 inbound at Gold Coast Airport

Calabro family ownership[edit]

Bustech was founded by the proprietors of Surfside Buslines, Joe and Tony Calabro, on the Gold Coast in 1995.[11] Buses were initially produced on Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Hino chassis with the first such vehicle completed in 1998 from their original Ernest, Queensland factory. In late 2003, Bustech began production of the VST model.[12] In October 2004 Bustech moved to a new factory in Calabro Way, West Burleigh.

Bustech became part of the Transit Australia Group in 2008 as part of a restructuring of the Calabro operations. In the same year, the company launched its first integral bus the 10.5 metre MDi. This was followed by the 12.5 metre XDi, SDi school bus and in July 2011 by the 12.5 metre CDi double decker, the first double deck citybus built for Australian operation since 1973. In November 2009, Bustech completed its 1000th bus.[13]

In July 2015, in collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology, the Automotive Cooperative Research Centre (AutoCRC) and the Malaysian Automotive Institute, Bustech unveiled its first electric bus to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia, known as the ZDi. Bustech has already signed a AUD$170 million contract to manufacture electric buses for the Malaysian government in late 2014.[14][15][16] with the first electric prototype bus delivered to Malaysia in 2016 branded as the XDi-E. In 2016, through the Transit Australia Group, Bustech signed a deal with Dubai South to provide electric buses.[17] One ZDi bus was exported to Dubai for evaluation in 2017.

Fusion Capital Holdings ownership[edit]

Bustech was not included in the April 2019 purchase of the Transit Australia Group by the AATS Group (now Kinetic Group).[18] In September 2019, it was announced that Bustech will be merging with its joint venture partner Precision Buses, which is owned by Fusion Capital Holdings.[19] Both organisations would have a combined strategic management and direction under a new holding company called Australian Bus Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fusion. However, each of them would retain their own brand identities and continue to operate in their own capacity at their respective facilities.

In June 2020, Bustech formed a partnership with Ebusco to produce the zero emission Ebusco 2.2 model and the next generation, carbon based Ebusco 3.0 model in Australia in a purpose built high tech facility.[20]

In August 2020, Bustech and Proterra announced a new collaboration to manufacture the all-electric ZDi 12.5m city bus utilizing Proterra’s battery technology platform.[21]

On 14 December 2020, it was announced that the group including Precision Buses and Elphinstone, was rebranded as the BusTech Group.[7]

Products[edit]

Early bus bodies[edit]

Most of the early buses from 1998 to 2000 were built for the Calabro's operations Surfside Buslines and other operators such as Clark's Logan City Bus Service and Whitsunday Transit in Queensland and Buslines Group, Oliveri's Metro-Link and King Brothers in New South Wales. Following the collapse of the Clifford Corporation, Bustech was successful in winning further orders from a variety of operators such as Sunbus and the Pulitano Group in Queensland and Connex, Forest Coachlines and Calabro family relation Busabout in New South Wales from 2000 to 2002.

VST[edit]

The VST model commenced production in 2003 on a variety of chassis with more than 1,500 vehicles produced. It is a low-floor city's body, available in single and dual door configurations. Various seating options are also available.

Body Length Chassis Operators
VST 11.7m (K320UB)

12.5m

18m Articulated (K360UA)

11.7m - Adelaide Metro (Torrens Transit, Busways)

18m - Adelaide Metro (Torrens Transit)

VSTM 11m Scania K280UB Transdev John Holland Buses

(prev. State Transit Authority)

VSTC 13m MAN Skybus NZ
VSTH 12.5m Volvo Hybrid

SBM/SBV[edit]

The SBM/SBV is a 12.5m school/charter bus body with a single door and the option for underfloor luggage bins. Commenced production in 2006 branded as the Graduate, they have been built on a variety of chassis including MAN 18.280 and 19.320, Mercedes-Benz OH1830L, Scania K94IB, and Volvo B7R/Volvo B8R. The naming SBM stands for School Bus MAN/Mercedes-Benz whilst SBV stands for School Bus Volvo[22]

Diesel Integral Buses[edit]

Body Type Length Seats Engine Transmission Produced From Notes
MDi Low-floor City Midi 10.5m 43 Caterpillar C7 (Original), Cummins ISB/ISL ZF 2007
XDi Low-floor City Bus 12.5m 55 (51 w/ Center Door) Caterpillar C7 (Original), Cummins ISC/ISB/ISL ZF 2008 A single XDi-E (12.5m low-floor electric city bus integral) was produced in 2015 for export to Malaysia
CDi Low-floor Double Deck 12.5m 96 Cummins ISL 9-litre Allison, ZF 2011 Twin Door, Dual Front Steer
ADi Low-floor Tour Bus 12.5m 53 Cummins ISL 9-litre Allison, ZF 2012 Underfloor Luggage Bins
SDi School Bus 12.5m 61 Cummins ISL 9-litre Allison, ZF 2012 Underfloor Luggage Bins

ZDi (Electric Integral Bus)[edit]

The ZDi is a 12.5m, 41-seater low-floor integral city bus, with full electric propulsion. The models produced between 2015 and 2022 were produced with ZF axles and Toshiba batteries. Three ZDi evaluation and test buses have been produced, with one exported for trialed in Dubai, and the remaining two built for operation in Adelaide, however remaining under test as at 2021. Only one of the Adelaide buses saw service, with the other never leaving the factory site.

The ZDi model has been approved as a "Panel 3-approved Australian vehicle for NSW" by Transport for NSW.[9][10][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About". BusTech Group. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  2. ^ "AUSTRALIAN BUS-MANUFACTURING JOINT VENTURE ANNOUNCED". BusNews.com.au. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  3. ^ "First all-Aus electric bus". BusNews.com.au. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  4. ^ "SKYBUS OPERATOR TO ACQUIRE TRANSIT AUSTRALIA GROUP - BUSTECH NOT INCLUDED!". BusNews.com.au. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  5. ^ "First Bustech XDi delivered in Tasmania". BusNews.com.au. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  6. ^ "BUSTECH AND PRECISION TO MERGE | Truck & Bus News". www.truckandbus.net.au. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  7. ^ a b "'BUSTECH GROUP' ANNOUNCED; AUST BUS CORP REBRANDED". BusNews.com.au. 14 December 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  8. ^ "BusTech Group formed from Precision Buses and Bustech". BusTech Group. 14 December 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b Electric bus maker BusTech plans NSW factory to meet state demand The Driven 19 February 2021
  10. ^ a b Bustech E-Bus NSW 'Panel 3' Approved Australian Bus & Coach 19 February 2021
  11. ^ "Manufacturing Update" Australian Bus Panorama" April 2000 issue 15/5 page 17
  12. ^ "MOTOR VEHICLE STANDARDS ACT 1989". rvcs-prodweb.dot.gov.au. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  13. ^ Bustech churns out 1000th vehicle goldcoast.com.au 19 December 2009
  14. ^ Australia just built its first electric bus, and it looks awesome, Science Alert, Retrieved 11 July 2015
  15. ^ Burleigh company Bustech driving future with electric buses set to revolutionise Gold Coast roads, Gold Coast Bulletin, Retrieved 11 July 2015
  16. ^ Australia Unveils Its First Electric Bus And It Looks Amazing, Yahoo UK, Retrieved 11 July 2015
  17. ^ "Coast company's Dubai coup". www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  18. ^ Skybus Operator to Acquire Transit Australia Group - Bustech not Included Australasian Bus & Coach 2 April 2019
  19. ^ "Queensland's Bustech And South Australia's Precision Buses Merge". Australasian Bus & Coach. 19 September 2019. Archived from the original on 21 September 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  20. ^ 101Media (3 June 2020). "Bustech, Precision Buses (SA) and Ebusco to partner on the future of zero emission buses in Australasia". Ebusco®. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Bustech selects Proterra as battery technology supplier for new electric transit bus in Australia". Green Car Congress. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  22. ^ SBV Specifications Archived 2013-04-10 at the Wayback Machine Bustech
  23. ^ Bus Specifications for Transport for NSW Bus Procurement Panel Number 3 Transport for NSW

External links[edit]

Media related to Bustech at Wikimedia Commons