Friday, July 8, 2022

Electric bus trial to pave way for state transition

Victoria’s first fully electric bus depot will be charging 27 buses in Melbourne’s north by early 2024 as part of the state government’s Zero Emissions Bus Trial, the Victorian Minister for Public Transport announced today.

The largest participant in the $20 million trial, bus operator Ventura, will install 15 charging units to power the electric buses at its converted Ivanhoe depot, with its first 12 electric trial buses due to enter the network this year, Minister Ben Carroll said.

“We have a big job ahead of us as we transition our bus fleet to zero emissions, so having the opportunity to study and learn from the conversion of Ventura’s depot to a fully electric bus depot will be invaluable to this process,” he said.

“We’re transitioning away from dirty diesel to fume-free buses in an orderly and informed way that brings the bus operators, manufacturers and energy providers along with us.”

Minister Carroll said that by early 2024, the depot’s 27 electric buses will be operating on nine routes across the northern suburbs, transporting up to 10,000 people each week including to La Trobe University and Northland Shopping Centre. They will cover more than 1.2 million kilometres over a year.

Major works to convert the depot into being fully electric will involve constructing a new substation on-site and the installation of battery-management technology and charging units, with works set to begin in begin July and completed by November this year.

Six Victorian bus companies have been selected to trial two hydrogen and 50 electric buses across existing routes in Melbourne, Seymour and Traralgon, fostering vital partnerships between bus operators, manufacturers, and energy companies ahead of the state’s major transition away from diesel buses.

“The transitioning from diesel buses to locally built electric buses at our Ivanhoe depot will be a breath of fresh air for customers travelling to destinations such as Latrobe University, Northland Shopping Centre, Preston Market and Gowrie Station,” said Ventura Managing Director, Andrew Cornwall.

“This trial will pave the way for us to have confidence in purchasing the correct equipment to fit out our remaining 11 depots, in time for the transition for all new buses to be zero emission from 2025.”

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