Brisbane’s proposed 60-strong fleet of all-electric buses is a step closer, with design and engineering tenders awarded for what will be a major overhaul of Brisbane’s public transport infrastructure, and one of the largest deployments of all-electric transport in Australia.
The Brisbane Move consortium was selected as the successful tenderer for Brisbane City Council’s electric bus network, with the consortium being made up of engineering firm Arup, and international sustainable infrastructure firm Acciona.
The Brisbane Move consortium will be responsible for the engineering design and delivery of the major infrastructure works required of the Brisbane Metro project, which will include a new underground station at the city’s Cultural Centre Precinct.
As part of the project, Brisbane’s Victoria Road bridge will also be closed to general traffic under the plan, and will be exclusively used for buses, and with improved access for both pedestrians and cyclists.
“Arup is extremely proud to help create a sustainable, city-shaping project that will provide greater movement, greater growth and create more jobs and investment opportunities for Brisbane,” Arup Queensland region leader Beth Woods said.
The new Brisbane Metro project will deploy 60 trackless electric buses, across two routes, each with the capacity to carry 150 passengers. The buses will be used to link suburban areas to the Brisbane central business district.
The $1 billion project will provide high-frequency electric bus services, running with a frequency of up to three minutes, with 18 stops.
“Brisbane Metro will breathe new life into our city as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis. That’s why we’re pushing ahead with major works, including the boring of new tunnel under Adelaide Street, so we can create 2600 jobs and supplier opportunities for Brisbane,” Lord Mayor of Brisbane Adrian Schrinner said.
As was announced late last year, the purpose built buses and charging network will be developed by Swiss bus manufacturer HESS AG, in a partnership with Australian-based manufacturer Volgren and engineering firm ABB.
It is expected that the buses will be charged at the end of each route using a “flash” charging system, with charges the buses in less than six minutes, before commencing the next route.
HESS has developed a roof-mounted charging system for electric buses, will allows for up to 450kW of power to be delivered to the bus, providing ultra-fast charging capabilities suitable for public transport systems.
The buses will feature USB charging points for passengers, information screens for route information, and four double-doors to allow for quick boarding and disembarking.
HESS is expected to deliver its first pilot electric bus for the Brisbane Metro project for testing in 2021, with the remainder of the 60-strong electric bus fleet expected to be delivered by late 2023.
The announcement of the successful tender was welcomed by the Queensland State transport minister, Mark Bailey, who said that the project would support up to 10,000 jobs, and progress on the electric bus network was occurring at a key time for the Queensland economy.
“Brisbane Metro will be an important addition to the region’s transport network,” Bailey said.
“We are working with Council to plan how Metro will connect with the wider public transport when the first services start in a few years, but news that construction could start soon is an significant milestone for the project.”
“The Palaszczuk Government’s $50 billion infrastructure program is a key part of [the Covid-19] recovery plan, and the timing of construction on Council’s Metro project is a welcome and well-timed addition for the construction sector,” Bailey added.
The Queensland government said that TransLink, which is responsible for the coordination of public transport services in Queensland will be involved in the evaluation of the HESS built buses, to ensure they can be adequately integrated into the wider public transport system in Brisbane.
The Brisbane Metro project wis being funded by the Brisbane City Council, as well as the federal government, and is expected to commence operation in 2023.