More than 50 electric buses will be on the road in Queensland by the end of the year in the latest Australian commitment to zero-emissions public transport.
Plans to launch another 17 electric buses were revealed on Jan. 13, with nine of the vehicles launching in the Redland region in February.
The new buses will be part of a larger push to electrify Australia’s public transport networks, with four states and territories introducing mandates for electric bus purchases.
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey announced the new vehicles at Volgren’s Eagle Farm manufacturing plant, where the buses will be built, saying the technology was not just climate-friendly but a better way to get around.
“Electric buses, electric vehicles are the way of the future. These buses are not just zero-emission, they’re much quieter buses than the buses people are used to,” Bailey said.
“They’re very quiet. They’re very comfortable. You know the difference when you get in an electric bus and we’re going to be seeing more and more of them coming into our public transport system across Queensland by 2025.”
The latest electric buses will join 10 already being used on the Gold Coast, five on the Sunshine Coast and five in Cairns, with more than 50 electric buses expected to be used in the state by the end of 2023.
All new buses purchased in south-east Queensland must be electric by 2025, according to a commitment made last year, with regional bus purchases to be electric by 2030.
The Australian Capital Territory made all new bus purchases electric last year, while Victoria named 2025 as its deadline and New South Wales committed to making its entire bus fleet electric by 2047.
Queensland’s 17 new electric buses will be based at Transdev’s Capalaba depot and will be powered partly by solar panels and electricity stored in 10 Tesla batteries.
Transdev Queensland managing director Mark McKenzie said the new buses would be recharged between periods of high demand.
“We do have charging opportunities in the middle of the day with the solar farm we’ve got,” McKenzie said.
“During (the morning) peak, we’ll bring them out into the network and we bring them back during the day, charge them with solar, and bring them out again in the afternoon.”
Despite the 2030 deadline for electric bus purchases, Bailey said Australia was not ready for a mandate on electric car purchases as their adoption was still “trailing” other nations.
“Some other countries have brought in mandates but that’s because they’re much more accelerated and further down the track,” McKenzie said.
“I don’t think we’re at that stage yet in this state or in this nation.”
Electric vehicles made up 3.1 percent of all new car sales in 2022, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, almost double the number sold in 2021.