Swinburne signs deal to develop electric buses for Malaysia

Monday 10 February 2014

A low angle photograph of Swinburne University of Technology signage on the Advanced Technologies Centre building in Hawthorn.

Commuters in Malaysia will be travelling on electric powered buses by 2016 that have been developed using research from Swinburne University of Technology.

Swinburne, Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI), ARCA Corporation Sdn Bhd and AutoCRC Ltd have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop and manufacture electric buses, lithium ion batteries and a commercial vehicle tracking system.

“Swinburne’s Electric Vehicle Research Group is one of the leading groups in the world in electric vehicle (EV) research, development, policy and education,” Dean, School of Engineering, Professor Ajay Kapoor, said.

“This is an opportunity to showcase some of the research we have been doing which includes battery technology and management, drivetrain and electric motor technologies, lightweighting and vehicle design.”

The MoU was an extension to the existing cooperation between Malaysia and Australia under the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad, who witnessed the signing, said he hopes that the production of the new line of electric buses will begin in two years’ time.

The MoU involves research, development and commercialisation in three major areas:

(i)              Lithium Ion Battery systems for electric vehicles;

(ii)             Electric Bus – Development of modular EV driveline systems for bus application

(iii)            Commercial Vehicle Tracking System suitable for fleet management

“We have been studying how we can work on the production and the parts for the electric bus, including the powertrain and batteries together with Swinburne University, Chinese and Japanese automakers and also with AutoCRC,” ARCA Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Azizuddin, said.

“To jointly develop the prototype electric bus, we have targeted an investment of RM200 million for the production infrastructure.”

The electric buses will have a range of 200km. They will initially be used in Putrajaya and Langkawi, followed by Kuala Lumpur and subsequently Indonesia and China.