The ACT government has made its first move towards having 90 electric buses on Canberra roads, launching a market sounding process for the supply of both the buses and supporting infrastructure.
The recently re-elected Labor-Greens government in the ACT has committed to purchase of 90 electric buses as promised in ACT Labor’s re-election pitch to voters.
The ACT government has previously trialled a number of all-electric and hybrid electric models as part of its public transport fleet, and will now seek to put those technologies into practice as part of the government’s emissions reduction strategies.
The market sounding process will seek suppliers of battery electric buses to come forward and provide information to the ACT government with information on suitable bus models, the associated charging infrastructure, maintenance services and energy supplies. A formal tender will follow.
ACT transport minister Chris Steel says the inclusion of all-electric models in the ACT’s public transport network will help drive further cuts to emissions in the transport sector.
“Transport is the ACT largest source of emissions, and we are getting on with our plan of replacing every diesel and compressed natural gas bus in Transport Canberra’s fleet with modern, zero-emission buses,” Steel said.
“The ACT Government released the Transport Canberra’s Zero Emissions Transition Plan in September and now we are preparing to procure the first tranche of 90 battery electric buses, with the commencement of a market sounding.”
The announcement follows a similar call for expressions-of-interest launched by the NSW government, as reported earlier this month, which will see up to 120 all-electric buses added to Sydney’s public transport network ahead of a complete transition of the 7,000 strong bus fleet to zero emissions models.
Australian bus manufacturer Nexport has launched plans to establish an electric bus manufacturing facility in New South Wales, between Sydney and Canberra, after securing an order for 70 buses from the NSW government and had already expressed an interest in supplying the ACT with locally made electric buses.
The ACT government expects the first batch of all-electric buses will commence operation in the 2021-22 financial year, with the full fleet of 90 buses operation by 2024.
Steel says the ACT government is inviting proposals from a range of potential service providers, including bus manufacturers through to the construction industry, with plans to establish new electric bus hubs that will host servicing and charging infrastructure, and a new bus depot in the north of Canberra.
“This process is not just about delivering 90 battery electric buses. We are seeking innovative solutions to how we house and support, charge and maintain the fleet, as well as how we can partner with energy providers that will make the transition successful in the ACT,” Steel said.
Interested parties can register their interest to supply the ACT with electric bus services through the government tender website.
The ACT government has also launched an additional, separate, tender for the short-term supply of 34 buses, to facilitate the early retirement of ageing diesel buses that are no longer compliant with the ACT’s Disability Discrimination Act. Electric buses will also be considered as part of the short-term tender.
“The old orange Renault buses have served Canberra well, but their black diesel fumes and outdated and inaccessible design will not be missed,” Steel added.
“The tender for these leased buses will be an open market process, available to all respondents including electric bus providers, to meet our short term operational needs, before our fleet of Transport Canberra electric-buses is operational.”