The Victoria Labor government is to allocate $20 million in its next budget to extend and broaden its trials of electric and other zero emissions buses across the state, with a view to switching away from fossil fuels as soon as it can.
Victoria has been running a trial for the past year with an electric bus on a single route in Melbourne, and has 40 hybrid buses in Melbourne and another eight in the Latrobe Valley.
The government now wants to move to the next stage, with a three-year trial of zero emissions buses to trial different technologies – presumably electric and fuel cell – in different regions, and will call for expressions of interest from various providers soon.
Andrews Labor Government is delivering clean, sustainable public transport to keep Victorians moving, with a trial of zero-emission buses to start in the coming months.
The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will invest $20 million in a statewide trial to investigate solutions to achieve a zero- emission bus fleet and create a pipeline of local job opportunities.
The Zero Emissions Bus Trial will run over three years, trialling different technologies on buses right across the state– with an expression of interest for companies to begin soon. The goverment hopes it can be a boost to local manufacturers and suppliers, including in the electricity supply sector.
“This investment will ensure a cleaner trip for our planet – and deliver hundreds of long-term jobs in the technology of the future,” said the minister for public transport Ben Carroll.
“We want Victoria to become a global leader in smart, sustainable transport solutions – backing our local manufacturing industry and the thousands of Victorians it employs.”
The state’s first fully electric bus has been operating for 300 days and is now in its second phase – running on route 251 between the Melbourne CBD and Northland Shopping Centre.
The government says it has clocked up more than 32,900 kilometres, and is travelling nearly 1,000 kilometres on just two charges, demonstrating the efficiency and range of its 324kW Lithium Phosphate batteries.
“Electrification of transport is critical for tackling climate change and creating new jobs in low-carbon industries,” state energy and climate change minister Lily D’Ambrosio said in a statement.
Victoria has not given a target for its transition to zero emission buses – apart from it general zero emissions target by 2050 – but the NSW government has already committed to transition its Sydney fleet with the purchase of 8,000 zero emission buses.
New Zealand recently committed to buying only zero emission buses from 2025 and California has pledged to do the same by 2029.