Electric buses reach regional Victoria as part of three-year trial

The Optimus range of route buses from Volgren. Image courtesy of Volgren.

Melbourne metropolitan area and parts of regional Victoria will be trialing zero-emission buses as part of the state government’s three-year Zero Emissions Bus Trial program to test different technologies on buses.

Electric buses will enter existing bus routes in Melbourne, Seymour and Traralgon as part of the $20 million program, with five Victorian bus operators selected to trial 41 electric buses.

The trial will provide practical information including how electric buses perform and the energy and charging requirements for different types of routes. It will give insights into how zero emissions buses can improve financial and environmental sustainability and customer outcomes.

The majority of the electric buses being introduced through the trial will be built at Volgren’s Dandenong South manufacturing facility.

Seymour will be the first regional town to be fully serviced by electric buses and Latrobe Valley Bus Lines will introduce the first electric bus based in Traralgon. Ventura will convert its Ivanhoe bus depot into Victoria’s first fully zero emissions bus depot by January 2024, charging 26 trial electric buses and one existing electric bus that will operate in the north-eastern suburbs.

In Melbourne’s west, Donric Group will have the trial’s first three electric buses operating in and around Sunbury from August, while CDC Victoria will introduce eight electric buses to service the CBD and eastern suburbs.

The Electric Buses as part of the trial will have charging stations at the depots they are housed in.

The 41 electric buses as part of the trial are in addition to 36 electric buses being rolled out across the metropolitan network by Kinetic, that will operate from the Sunshine West and Heatherton depots.

“The electric bus trial will be pivotal in our transition to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable transport network,” Victoria’s Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said.

“Creating a greener fleet is part of our Bus Plan to develop a more modern and reliable network that will attract more people to the convenience of buses.”

Achieving zero emissions across the bus fleet is critical to Victoria meeting its legislated commitment of zero net emissions by 2050, Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said.

“The addition of 36 electric buses to the Melbourne network and 41 state-wide through the electric bus trial is accelerating our transition to net zero emissions by 2050.”


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