Home » Bus Finance Australia announces EV Infrastructure fund for the future

Bus Finance Australia announces EV Infrastructure fund for the future

Bus Finance Australia is expanding into the zero-emissions funding space. Image: Bus Finance Australia

When Bus Finance Australia was first founded 20 years ago, its mission was to support smaller Victorian bus operators with finance packages. In its two decades as a business, it has fast become a national support base for a variety of bus and coach companies.

When established as part of the Bus Association of Victoria (BusVic) suite of businesses, finance director Brett Collins remembers first walking into Bus Finance Australia’s empty office in early 2004.

“We started from scratch, creating our own finance arrangements, databases and formulas,” Collins told ABC.

“Then we went out and assisted the BusVic membership database, slowly expanding to support interstate operators too.”

Now, Bus Finance Australia, formerly known as BAV Finance, has established more than $850 million in finance transactions to support the bus industry. Its continual aim is to become the leading financier for Australian bus operators, acting as an industry specialist for businesses in need, from the single bus operator through to the large corporates.

After kicking off this dream by supporting Victorian operators, Bus Finance Australia soon became national, helping complete bus transactions through its various commercial funding arrangements. This soon evolved into helping broker and negotiate the selling and buying of bus businesses for operators looking to expand and acquire competitors.

The finance business is now embracing the next stage of its evolution, as it takes its national customer base and seeks to become an industry specialist when it comes to zero-emissions bus operations via its new brand EV Infrastructure Funds.

“Zero-emissions buses has been a recent transformation for us as we begin funding the electric and wider zero-emissions side of the bus industry’s natural progression,” Collins says.

“We’ve seen where Australian governments want operators to go to regarding the transition and we’re helping support them on their journey.”

When mandates began to be announced around the transition of the nation’s bus and coach fleet to zero-emissions models, Bus Finance Australia saw an opportunity to become a trusted part of the process. Collins says there are “tremendous gaps” in financing the zero-emissions bus infrastructure required for the nation’s operators.

With its new additional brand EV Infrastructure Funds, Bus Finance Australia has put in effort to develop competitive funding alternatives to arrangements offered by zero-emissions infrastructure vendors. By adding these alternatives into complete financial packages to support operators, Collins is confident that Bus Finance Australia is capable of finding the right electric vehicle and infrastructure funding models to support bus operators’ cash flow.

“Our sample size for this area of funding models is small but currently growing quickly,” he says.

“We have enquiries increasing regularly. We can help with sourcing the correct electric vehicle infrastructure, knowing who to talk to and identifying alternative suppliers and manufacturers for operators.”

Bus Finance Australia now has its own list of recommended businesses that it uses to point operators in the right direction. These choices have become part of its overall funding packages to facilitate zero-emissions bus purchases and the supporting infrastructure required.

Collins says this way of funding zero-emissions operations is different from mainstream financiers, who primarily have restricted terms and a limit on the percentage it will fund for businesses.

“We can offer more attractive finance terms and can fund up to 100 per cent of the fit-out costs for zero-emissions bus infrastructure and the supporting equipment,” Collins says.

Image: Bus Finance Australia

The end goal is for Bus Finance Australia to be the trusted all-in-one funder to support any bus operator in Australia on the journey to a zero-emissions transition. Whether it be commercial depots, business expansion plans or upgrading fleets, Collins is confident that the financier will become an expert on financing electric vehicle infrastructure.

It’ll do so with its own network full of zero-emissions infrastructure companies and providers, allowing operators to pick and choose certain brands and offerings for zero-emissions vehicles.

“We won’t be promoting one brand or company over another,” Collins says.

“We’ll instead have a list of recommended suppliers for zero-emissions infrastructure requirements, but customers aren’t restricted to choosing from these companies.”

Around this zero-emissions focus, Bus Finance Australia will continue to be a leading financier for buses in Australia. Although it may be modernising its capabilities, the financier will still finance all vehicle types for operators to help their cash flow.

There’ll just be another fund as part of the Bus Finance Australia system, with the Zero-Emissions Bus Infrastructure Fund to allow operators to access financiers who know the industry well through two decades of experience.

It’s this personal touch that Collins is certain will help the financier he helped build 20 years ago to flourish in the zero-emissions age.

“We’re a professional financier and operators can come to us and know they’ll be looked after,” he says.

“I have great people supporting me. Stephen Guille has been with us for the past 15 years and is well known in the industry, and we are supported by our assistant Parisse Kaklikos.

“We are fortunate to have great knowledge of two industries (bus and finance) that will allow us to deliver the appropriate solutions and packages for Australia’s bus operators.

“Feel free to give us a call to get a quote on what certain requirements may cost – we can also recommend people to speak to certain suppliers, operators or state associations to have some comfort about what they are planning on doing in the near future.”