Adelaide Airport will be the first airport in Australia to switch its entire bus fleet to 100% electric, in a new deal with airport transfer service SkyBus.
From early 2021, electric buses to be made by north Adelaide-based Precision Buses will replace the South Australian airport’s current fleet of buses both on and off the tarmac.
Adam Begg, co-chief executive officer of SkyBus owner Kinetic, said in a statement that SkyBus is delighted to partner with Adelaide Airport.
“SkyBus has a long and successful track record partnering with major airports across Australasia to deliver market leading transit options and we are excited about Adelaide Airport’s appetite for innovation and what will be an exciting future for the airport,” Begg says.
Brenton Cox, executive GM for finance and corporate at Adelaide Airport, said in a statement that SkyBus won the competitive tender by demonstrating a clear focus on service efficiency, reliability and airport sustainability.
“Adelaide Airport is the aviation gateway to South Australia, processing more than eight million passengers annually – and we strive for innovative solutions and continuous improvements in all areas including bus transport,” Cox said.
“The ability to engage a leading operator and local industry to provide a sustainable transport solution for both airside and landside buses is an excellent outcome for all of our stakeholders.”
Electrification of bus fleets can have significant and positive environmental impacts. A 2018 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists showed that in the US battery electric buses have lower life cycle emissions than both diesel buses and those run on natural gas.
A more recent study on the impact of electric vehicles from the Dutch Radboud University showed that even when powered from all but the most emission-heavy grids – Australia included – electric vehicles are better for the environment in terms of emissions.
Not only will the decision to electrify the Adelaide Airport bus fleet have the benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fumes breathed in by passengers, the choice to source the buses from Precision Buses will be a boost to the South Australian economy.
Once the stronghold of auto manufacturing in Australia, Adelaide in particular suffered a blow when the local car makers Holden, Ford and Toyota shut down factories in 2016 and 2017.
Precision Buses – which claims it built the first electric buses in Australia – fired up a new plant in October 2019 according to AU Manufacturing, expanding operations with 40 new staff.
Adelaide Airport joins a number of capital city airports in Australia that include electric buses in their fleets, including Brisbane, Sydney. Skybus will commence servicing Adelaide airport in April.
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Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.