Chinese electric vehicle specialist BYD Company has unveiled Australia's first pure electric airport bus in the first commercial operation of such a fleet in Australia, as part of a A$5m spend on environment-friendly ground transportation at Sydney's airport.

The Electric Blu bus is the first of a fleet of six – to be supplied by BYD in a joint venture with Carbridge – which will be operational by the end of this year, replacing a diesel bus fleet servicing the 7km (about four miles) shuttle route between T2/T3 and the Blu Emu car park. The electric buses can carry 70 passengers, feature purpose-designed luggage storage racks and have a range of 400km (about 250 miles) (or up to 100 transfer journeys, on a single charge. Around 2m travellers, visitors and airport workers use the shuttle service every year. The switch from diesel to electric will reduce carbon emissions by about 160 tonnes a year, improve local air quality, lower external noise levels, reduce waste fluids to zero and decrease the amount of toxic material generated during servicing, BYD said.

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Sydney Airport has been spending on charging stations and other ancillary equipment to support the electric bus fleet. The airport is also currently trialing electric cars as part of its ground transport fleet and investigating solar-powered charging stations to further decrease carbon emissions while research and development is under way for recycling and reuse of batteries and other components.

The airport has also implemented a range of other environmental initiatives, including achievement of Level Two Airport Carbon Accreditation in recognition of efforts to map, manage and reduce carbon emissions; establishment of a 25% carbon reduction target per passenger by 2020 and achievement of an 18% reduction over the past five years; offsetting carbon emissions through the Greenfleet program; installing energy efficient lighting; spending to support cleaner, quieter and more fuel efficient next generation aircraft; and implementing and supporting other electric equipment and vehicles such as aircraft tugs.

BYD noted Australia "is proving a promising market for [our] sustainable development solutions". It has also established an electric forklift distribution network in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; with over 20 orders
already placed for its different forklift models, and estimated orders for another 100 units in the next six to 12 months. A BYD e6 pure electric crossover sedan has recently been delivered to operate at the Sydney airport with an additional order taken for another 10 units.

Future plans for Australia will continue to focus on the K9 bus, the C6 coach, the e6 and forklifts.