Monday, June 6, 2016

Electric bus trial for Canberra

Brighsun electric bus
Today as part of a pre-budget announcement of public transport improvements, the Chief Minister announced funding for a trial of electric buses in Canberra.

The trial will be for three electric buses over twelve months in offpeak and peak hour services and is budgeted to cost $900,000.

No details of the manufacturer or vehicle type were made at the announcement. In 2015 an electric bus manufactured by Brighsun travelled 1015km on one charge.

The Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that:

"...the ACT Government will invest $900,000 for an electric bus trial. The buses will be used on regular route services, on and off peak, across the bus network. The trial will enable the ACT Government to assess the viability of using electric buses within the bus network.

Minister for Transport and Municipal Services Meegan Fitzharris said:

“Further demonstrating our commitment to exploring sustainable forms of public transport, we will also run a 12 month trial of up to three electric buses. This is a great initiative and one I think Canberrans will be really excited about."

The full media release is here.

This announcement is a confirmation of earlier indications from Government that electric buses would be trialled in the ACTION Bus fleet. The ACT Government has a policy of reducing greenhouse emissions and many of these emissions come from diesel buses that comprise 100% of ACTION's current fleet. Although there have been advances in diesel engine technology, reliance on a diesel bus fleet will continue to be a source of greenhouse emissions, even if a bus of 80 people emit less than 80 cars being used to drive one person to and from work.

Capital Metro Stage One light rail will be powered by 100% renewable electricity. By trialling electric buses, the government is making a sound investigation of a technology that could be the future of buses and probably private passenger vehicles. As well as being a much cleaner technology, electric vehicles require far less maintenance than vehicles using internal combustion engines.

Although light rail will eventually be the primary mass transit backbone of Canberra's public transport network, it will always need to be integrated with a local bus network. It is sensible to explore technologies that make bus use cleaner and potentially cheaper.

As well as this website, the facebook group 'Light Rail for Canberra' carries frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news. 

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