Electric bus depot trial hitting road in Leichhardt

On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $5 million in funding to support the pilot deployment of Australia’s largest electric bus fleet consisting of 40 electric buses, charging infrastructure and a retrofitted bus depot in Leichhardt in Sydney’s inner west.

The $36 million project is to be delivered by a Transgrid and Zenobe joint venture, receiving funding and in-kind support from project partners including Transit Systems and Transport for NSW.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is also providing financing of $24.5 million.

The three-year trial will drive the commercialisation of electric buses in Australia and continue the development of the Australian Government’s Future Fuel Strategy which aims to empower consumer choice, stimulate industry development and reduce emissions in the road transport sector.

As part of the project, the Leichhardt depot is being retrofitted to include the use of 40 electric buses with a combination of 368 kWh and 422 kWh onboard batteries, five 120 kW electric bus chargers capable of charging two buses at a time, thirty one 80 kW electric bus chargers, 2.5 MW / 4.9 MWh of stationary batteries, and 387 kW of rooftop solar PV. The electric bus fleet will service public bus routes in Sydney’s Inner West, the CBD, Mascot and Green Square.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project represents ARENA’s first heavy vehicle electric vehicle (EV) project and an important scaling up from previous trials.

Previous electric bus trials in Australia have involved fewer than four buses each, making this trial important to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of the electrification of large depot-scale bus fleets capable of travelling a complete route without needing to be re-charged.

“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.

This trial represents the next step in helping to reduce emissions in public transport and heavy transport. We’re excited to be working alongside the consortium in showcasing this Australian-first initiative that we hope will kickstart the rollout of electric buses throughout the nation.”

“ARENA is focused on projects that help prepare the electricity system for EVs. Appropriate coordination and management of EV charging can reduce risks and turn EV charging into a positive for the electricity network by improving capacity and renewable energy utilisation, benefiting all consumers.”

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 4 months.

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