Australia’s largest electric bus fleet to be deployed in Sydney

Australia’s largest electric bus fleet will be deployed in inner western Sydney.

Steven Meersman

A depot in Leichhardt will be retrofitted for 40 electric buses, 36 chargers, stationary batteries and rooftop solar PV, with the fleet servicing public bus routes in Sydney’s Inner West, the CBD, Mascot and Green Square.

The $36 million project is being delivered via a joint venture between Transgrid and UK renewable energy company Zenobe Energy, which is launching into Australia with the project.

Transgrid and Zenobe will provide the batteries, stationary storage, depot conversion and charging infrastructure and will manage and take full responsibility for ensuring the buses are fully charged on time and have the required range.

“This means the transport operator can focus on the delivery of a reliable bus service,” Zenobe Co-Founder and Director Steven Meersman said.

Zenobe will also provide grid management software and end-of-life solutions for batteries.

Project partner Transit Systems, which already operates 15 electric buses in the inner west, has ordered the new buses which will be finished locally before heading to the depot.

“This is a turning point for delivering more sustainable transport on a mass scale,” said Clint Feuerherdt, CEO of SeaLink Travel Group which owns Transit Systems.

First heavy EV project for ARENA

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is providing of $24.5 million for the project and The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will kick in $5 million for it first heavy electric vehicle project.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller says the project is an important scaling up from previous Australian trials, which have involved fewer than four buses each.

This trial would demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of electrifying large depot-scale bus fleets, he said.

“Heavy vehicle transport is an important area to target given that together buses and trucks account for 25 per cent of transport related carbon emissions and five per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions,” Mr Miller said.

He it was hoped the initiative would kickstart the rollout of electric buses throughout the nation.

The first 12 of the 40 new electric buses will begin to enter service this month, with the rest of the fleet arriving over the next four months.

Rail network goes net zero

NSW transport minister Rob Stokes also announced on Thursday the state’s heavy rail network had become the first in Australia to transition to 100 per cent net emissions, achieving the target four years ahead of schedule.

Matt Longland

“What it means is that from this year every train, every station and every depot across NSW will be powered by net zero emissions energy,” Sydney Trains Chief Executive Matt Longland said

Mr Longland sayd the existing electricity supply contract has flexible terms to allow for the expansion into green energy and now comes entirely from certified renewable sources. 

“Our electricity supply contract is 100 per cent renewable from now to the end of financial year 23/24, and we are preparing to go to market to test solutions to maintain a commitment to renewable energy into the future,” he said.

Sydney Trains has also committed to reduce energy consumption by at least 10 per cent by 2025, through solar energy generation at 27 locations across the network, lighting upgrades and improvements in train operations.

Meanwhile, the NSW Government’s NSW EV Strategy legislation has also passed through parliament.

Key features of the strategy include removing stamp duty EVs – to be replaced by a road user charge from 2027 – rebates for buying EVS, fleet incentives and increased charging infrastructure.

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