Electric bus
Data from the trial will be used to create an analytics platform that can be used by bus companies looking to make the switch to electrification.

21 October 2021

A new pilot project set to drive down emissions in public transport and heavy transport has today been announced. The $36 million project will consist of Australia’s largest electric bus fleet (40 buses), charging infrastructure and a retrofitted bus depot in Leichhardt, Sydney.

The ANU Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program is playing a supporting role in this multi-partnered project, collaborating with energy consultancy, Zenobe, and electricity transmission network operator, Transgrid. BSGIP will leverage the data produced in this next generation electric bus depot trial in a project entitled RouteZero.

The data will be used to create an analytics platform, the first of its kind in Australia, that can be used by other bus companies that may be looking to make the switch to electrification.

“The ANU is creating a software tool that enables bus operators to assess the suitability of electric buses for their routes, based on the real-world performance of buses in the Sydney deployment,” said Dr Bjorn Sturmberg, Research Leader, Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at the Australian National University.

“The tool will also optimise the charging infrastructure required to meet their timetables, quantifying the costs and grid impacts of electrifying their depots, empowering bus operators to quickly identify the best starting points for their electrification journey.”

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the project represents ARENA’s first heavy vehicle electric vehicle project and an important scaling up from previous trials.

Previous electric bus trials in Australia have involved fewer than four buses each, making this trial important to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of the electrification of large depot-scale bus fleets.

“Heavy vehicle transport is an important area to target given that together buses and trucks account for 25 per cent of transport related carbon emissions and five per cent of Australia’s total carbon emissions,” said Darren Miller.

As part of the project, the Leichhardt depot is being retrofitted to include the use of 40 electric buses with a combination of 324 kWh and 422 kWh onboard batteries, five 120 kW electric bus chargers capable of charging two buses at a time, thirty one 80 kW electric bus chargers, 2.5 MW / 4.9 MWh of stationary batteries, and 387 kW of rooftop solar PV. The electric bus fleet will service public bus routes in Sydney’s Inner West, the CBD, Mascot and Green Square.

Project partners include ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency), Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Transgrid, Transit Systems, Transport for NSW, Zenobe and the ANU Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program.