Australia’s Volgren announced this week that it will partner with Wrightbus to build and deliver two hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses into Brisbane, a partnership backed by a $1.5 million commitment from the Queensland government.
Dandenong-based bus body builder Volgren will partner with the Northern Ireland-based bus manufacturer Wrightbus, with Wrightbus to provide the hydrogen powered fuel cell chassis and Volgren to build the bus body.
Queensland’s deputy premier Steven Miles says the state government will commit $1.5 million for the buses from its Hydrogen Industry Development Fund. Public transport operator Transdev will match the investment, and the two buses will be delivered to its Capalaba bus depot in Brisbane.
The buses will also feature one of the first hydrogen bus bodies in Australia to be built locally, and the first to be powered using European chassis technology – with previous Australian hydrogen buses relying on Chinese chassis.
According to Wrightbus chief executive Joerg Hoffman, the hydrogen fuel cell buses will use the company’s Hydroliner chassis, which boast a range of nearly 500 kilometres and take only eight minutes to refuel.
“We are immensely proud of our partnership with Volgren to supply our hydrogen fuel cell powertrain technology for the manufacture of two hydrogen buses for Australian bus operator, Transdev,” said Hofmann.
“This is an extremely exciting development for sustainable public transport in Australia.
“We know from our vast expertise and experience the significant part hydrogen can play in the decarbonisation of public transport and we believe the scope for uptake across the Australian market is huge as the country makes the vital switch to zero-emission vehicles,” he said.
“The partnership between Volgren and Wrightbus combines Europe’s leading hydrogen chassis manufacturer with Australia’s largest bus body builder,” added Yuri Tessari, Volgren’s chief commercial officer.
“It’s an exciting time for both companies, working to create the best possible hydrogen bus for local conditions.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.