The Victorian government has officially helped open the state’s first electric bus depot, situated in Melbourne’s north-east.
The Ventura Ivanhoe depot has been converted to accommodate the state’s largest fleet of zero-emissions buses as part of the state government’s $20 million zero-emissions bus trial.
Victorian public and active public transport minister Gabrielle Williams joined Victorian climate action minister Lily D’Ambrosio at the depot to officially open the site.
The 27 electric buses operating from the upgraded depot will transport up to 10,000 people each week and cover more than 1.2 million kilometres per year across the northern suburbs, completing routes in and around La Trobe University, Preston Market, Gowrie Station and Northland Shopping Centre.
Ventura is one of six operators across Victoria taking part in the three-year zero-emissions bus trial that will see 52 zero-emissions buses rolled out across Melbourne, Traralgon and Seymour.
Ahead of 2025, when all new buses purchased for Victorian public transport routes will be required to be zero-emissions, Ventura completed the transition of its Ivanhoe depot to zero-emissions.
The works included converting the depot by installing a new transformer on site and upgrading the grid connection to support 14 dual-gun Tritium fast chargers.
Ventura managing director Andrew Cornwall says the operator’s experience in upgrading the fleet and depot has been “very exciting”.
“This project has given Ventura so much confidence in transitioning our remaining 11 depots and 900 buses to become a fully electric zero-emissions bus fleet in the coming years,” Cornwall told ABC.
“It is a very bold move for a family company that has been relying on diesel powered buses for 100 years to know that the future for our customers, staff and stakeholders is to embrace these new electric buses powered by green energy.
“The feedback from customers and staff has been very positive and the reliability of the buses and the chargers has been excellent.”
Williams says the government is proud to be helping transition the Victorian public transport network to zero-emissions vehicles.
“We’re proud to be delivering Victoria’s first all-electric bus depot – providing passengers with a smoother and quieter bus ride and helping the state meet its commitment of net zero emissions by 2045,” Williams says.
The depot’s opening came the same day as Ventura was sold to Singapore-based asset management company Keppel Infrastructure Trust for an enterprise value of $600 million.