Australia’s Custom Denning selects Siemens to electrify bus fleet

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Australian bus manufacturer Custom Denning has selected Siemens for the supply and installation of electric bus charging stations and management software as part of efforts by the company to decarbonise its fleet.

The charging stations will support Custom Denning’s prototype electric buses and be available for future eBus orders of its customers.

Birgit Dargel, Global Head of Future Grids at Siemens Smart Infrastructure, said: “By providing our Sicharge UC systems to one of Australia’s leading bus manufacturers, we can do our part to promote the country’s plans for zero-emissions vehicles.”

Siemens’ Sicharge UC eBus charging infrastructure will be part of Custom Denning’s zero-emission electric bus trials. For this purpose, the Australian bus manufacturer has manufactured four prototypes of their new electric bus named Element. Each trial bus will be delivered to a bus operator paired with a Sicharge UC100 capable of delivering up to 125 kW, along with a Siemens digital depot management solution. In addition, Custom Denning has purchased a stock of Sicharge UC100 charging units for future bus sales.

The Sicharge UC system serves the entire power range from 50 to 600 kW and can operate at up to 1,000 volts (V). This gives bus operators optimal flexibility when planning electric bus depots by providing highly efficient infrastructure designed to take into account the rapid advances in battery technology. Additionally, it enables bus operators to cost-effectively expand their charging infrastructure with up to five dispensers plus a pantograph per charging center.

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The reporting and monitoring function of the digital depot management solution from Siemens will enable Custom Denning to centrally monitor all charging infrastructure and easily report on key metrics, including OPEX savings. Smart management functionality can also enable scheduled charging to take advantage of lower overnight rates while ensuring that individual buses have reached the desired state of charge by the time they are needed for the next day’s operations.

The Element electric buses are built at Custom Denning’s St. Mary’s factory in Western Sydney. Once fully operational, the site will be capable of producing 550 eBuses annually, with the intention of selling them locally and globally.

Scott Dunn, Managing Director of Custom Denning, added: “Technology can change quickly, particularly around charging infrastructure. Which is why working with a company like Siemens that keeps ahead of the curve makes sense for us as a local manufacturer.

“We also needed a solution that would make the transition to electric buses as seamless as possible for bus operators and Siemens is a natural fit. Bus operators have the reassurance of a leading product that is used in many countries worldwide and also in getting the right charging infrastructure quickly through existing stock so they can hit the ground running with a packaged solution.”

According to the Australian Government Climate Change Authority, Australia’s transport emissions have been rising every year since 1990 (except for 2020 due to COVID-19). With 21 percent, trucks and buses represent the second largest part of these emissions. State governments across Australia are encouraging the uptake of low emission transport. New South Wales, for example, aims to convert all 8,300 buses across the state to zero emission by 2030.