Government powers up in bid for 90 electric buses

Ian Bushnell 21 December 2020 36
Yutong Electric E12

The Chinese Yutong Electric E12 bus was trialled successfully this year. Photo: File.

The ACT is moving a step closer to a zero-emissions transport fleet with the government seeking private sector providers for 90 battery-electric buses, as well as associated operating requirements such as charging infrastructure, maintenance and energy supply.

In a market sounding released today, the government wants to hear from all parts of industry as part of the future procurement of the 90 battery-electric buses in mid-2021.

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said the first of the 90 buses were expected to be on the road in the 2021-22 financial year with the final vehicles to be delivered no later than 2024.

Interested parties can now register through the Tenders ACT or Transport Canberra websites so they can keep informed and involved in the upcoming industry briefing process and formal market soundings.

“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,” Mr Steel said.

“Transport is the ACT’s 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.”

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The market sounding says Transport Canberra is looking for innovative solutions that respond to the infrastructure, power, training and technology opportunities of a zero-emission fleet, and can deliver on the objectives of a sustainable, compact and efficient city.

Buses may be housed and charged in a mixture of either existing depots, off-site locations or at the new Woden bus depot.

The market sounding follows the release in September of Transport Canberra’s Zero Emissions Transition Plan.

The ACT successfully trialled the Chinese Yutong Electric E12 bus for a year from November 2019, but the government wants to test the market with a range of new players emerging.

Mr Steel said the government wants to hear from all sectors of industry that would like to be involved in delivering the zero-emissions transition – from bus manufacturers, energy providers, electric bus charging station companies to the broader construction industry.

“The market sounding is the next step in achieving our target of a zero-emission public transport system by 2040 or earlier, and providing clean, quiet and reliable bus services across Transport Canberra’s Network,” he said.

It will involve a series of industry forums, interactive discussions and an information-sharing platform to allow Transport Canberra to develop procurement documentation that encourages innovation and responds to industry capability. The process will conclude with interviews with relevant stakeholders.

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The government also announced that a tender will be released in early 2021 to lease 34 replacement buses in order to retire the remaining orange Renault PR100 series buses that pre-date emissions standards and do not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.

The tender to replace the 34 buses will seek interest from providers of both battery-electric and diesel buses that meet Transport Canberra’s short-term operational requirements and the objectives of the transition plan.

“The old orange Renault buses have served Canberra well, but their black diesel fumes and outdated and inaccessible design will not be missed,” Mr Steel said.

“When the 34 replacement buses enter service in the second half of 2021, every bus in the Transport Canberra fleet will comply with Disability Discrimination Act standards and be wheelchair and pram accessible.”

The move to zero emissions public transport is part of the Parliamentary Agreement between Labor and the ACT Greens and acquiring 90 electric buses is an ACT Labor election commitment.

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36 Responses to Government powers up in bid for 90 electric buses
Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:11 pm 23 Dec 20

There are less people using the buses and that trend will continue. Instead of testing the electric bus market “with new players emerging” the government should be looking at alternative ways to meet the diminishing demand for buses. Have they scoped outsourcing the least used routes to ride share operators using EVs exclusively, for example?

As a ratepayer I am getting tired of my money being used to subsidize these big buses and their dysfunctional operation to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The government could then still have their virtue signaling but in a more cost effective way. After all, their first obligation is to the ratepayers, not the climate alarmists in the UN.

dukethunder dukethunder 9:16 pm 22 Dec 20

“Harry Vallianos Um, we know this; lots of people know this, but you just don’t get it do you. I repeat, how can we tell them what to do without setting an example?” Nailed it. In the same way we set the example with free trade.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:32 am 23 Dec 20

    You mean the “free trade” deal we have with China?

    chewy14 chewy14 10:41 am 24 Dec 20

    “Free trade”, that’s a good one. Well done.

Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 4:56 pm 22 Dec 20

When will this Labor Gov stop borrowing money to keep there greenies happy.

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 5:36 pm 22 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos because this will lower Canberra’s 0.2 % emissions of Australia’s 1.3 % emissions to 0.199.99 of Australia’s 1.3% emissions

    Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 5:51 pm 22 Dec 20

    Jorge Gatica 🤣🤣🤣👍 that’s right.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 6:44 pm 22 Dec 20

    Jorge Gatica Even if our emissions are low overall, if we do nothing and ignore this, as you are appearing to suggest, we would have no moral right to expect others to to so either.

    Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 7:31 pm 22 Dec 20

    Julie Macklin Canberra alone will make no difference what so ever. There is countries like China & India that are emitting soooo much. China itself doesn’t have a climate policy starting till at least 2050

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 7:49 pm 22 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos Um, we know this; lots of people know this, but you just don't get it do you. I repeat, how can we tell them what to do without setting an example?

    Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 8:13 pm 22 Dec 20

    Julie Macklin are you for real. You think if little ol Canberra is going to change the minds of the Chinese 🤣🤣🤣. We are wasting our time and is costing us for no gain what so ever. I am not saying I don’t believe in climate change and I probably do more than die hard believers. The fact is it doesn’t matter what Australia does we need the WHOLE world to do there bit

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 8:35 pm 22 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos The world is bigger than China. You really, really don't get it. Do you believe in climate change?

    Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 8:50 pm 22 Dec 20

    Julie Macklin no China economy is growing faster than the world and they won’t be told what to do. I do get it you don’t. People like yourself live in la la land

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:45 pm 22 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos Okay, I get it. Basically you don't believe in climate change. I note you didn't answer my question.

    Adele Craven Adele Craven 10:55 pm 22 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos China is investing in electric vehicles. Thats where a lot of the technology and innovation is coming from.

    Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 10:59 pm 22 Dec 20

    Adele Craven they’re also investing in new coal fired power stations so they can continue to build electric cars 🤦‍♀️

    Broderick Proeger Broderick Proeger 7:48 am 23 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos probably when the Liberals stop making policy to keep their corporate donors happy.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 3:53 pm 23 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos the buses need replacing on a regular basis. What’s the issue with going with the latest tech? That’s all that is happening.

    Bus wise Australia is so far behind the rest of the world. We only went halted baked on CNG when that was the latest and cleanest, we basically skipped hybrids and we are about 5 years at least behind on electric.

    Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 4:59 pm 23 Dec 20

    Ashley Wright we have new buses getting around at the moment. I have no issue with replacing buses. The bus system in Canberra runs at a loss and has for ever so we need to replace with efficiency and infrastructure for electric is not efficient

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:00 pm 23 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos bull dust.

    Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 5:03 pm 23 Dec 20

    Ashley Wright is that right 🤔. Well that’s your opinion and I have had mine. Everyone is deserving of an opinion

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:12 pm 23 Dec 20

    Harry Vallianos yeah everyone can have an opinion. However your statement that infrastructure for electric is expensive is bull dust. That’s a fact not opinion.

    Harry Vallianos Harry Vallianos 5:16 pm 23 Dec 20

    Ashley Wright I really don’t care what you think or anyone thinks. You had your say I had mine who is right or wrong well doesn’t matter. I believe it isn’t viable you think it is that’s life

bj_ACT bj_ACT 3:47 pm 22 Dec 20

Electric bus is no good for anyone who had their bus route and their nearest bus stop taken away.

Sort of like Yes Ministers hospital without patients.

Katy Did Katy Did 3:06 pm 22 Dec 20

But, it is all in the ‘gesture’ people! Nuclear Power is the only true ‘clean! power. China with another 200 coal plants being built is promising 50% cut in omissions in ten years-what a joke. The joke is on the West that will destroy its economy for no benefit at all. We should focus on cleaning up the environment and what is in our control.

Rainer Busacker Rainer Busacker 12:30 pm 22 Dec 20

Andrew, what took you so long? Would have been many, many, many times cheaper than your train set and its infrastructure, now and in the future. 🤔😡

    Pete Macca Pete Macca 12:50 pm 22 Dec 20

    Rainer N Palma Busacker We used to have train lines all around Canberra up until 1968, they pulled them all up because they found buses were doing a better job. Most of our Ministers do not come from Canberra, this is why they built the tram because they have them in the cities they come from.

    Rainer Busacker Rainer Busacker 9:33 am 23 Dec 20

    Macca McMahon infrastructure is important and more so in big cities. However, in my view, dedicated bus lanes utilising electric/battery powered buses would be less expensive and a more flexible solution to meet Canberra's present and future transport needs.t There would be no need to modify bridges, lay single use tracks, build tram stops etc. If a tram breaks down, then a track is blocked for a time. Whereas if a bus breaks down another bus following can overtake the breakdown and collect passengers as usual. Cheaper to have extra vehicles that can be redirected around an incident than to have chaos and shut down of services.

    Time to stop politicking and grandstanding.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 3:50 pm 23 Dec 20

    Macca McMahon what a load of nonsense.

    Pete Macca Pete Macca 10:08 am 24 Dec 20

    Rainer N Palma Busacker A bus battery costs about $30,000, they are replace each year, the bus is good for 5 years lets say, so thats $150,000 just for that bus and there are 40 new Electric bus's. So really is it cheaper to run electric bus's, NO its not.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:08 pm 24 Dec 20

    Macca McMahon lots of fibs in your post to suit your argument.

    Firstly battery packs replaced every year. Ah no they aren’t.

    Cost of battery pack yeah maybe about right.

    Life span of a bus these days 20-25 years.

    Cost of a new bus, not sure how much the electric ones are, but diesel rigid’s are about $500,000 each.

Ray Whiteman Ray Whiteman 12:16 pm 22 Dec 20

What will be the cost to recharge these

    Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 9:22 pm 22 Dec 20


Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:38 am 22 Dec 20

“….black diesel fumes…”?

I’ve never seen these coming from an ACTION bus. The Minister must have go a whiff of something else.

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