Photography by: courtesy Brisbane City Council

PENDING final council ratification, the joint Volgren-Hess-ABB tender to provide the vehicles and charging infrastructure for the ongoing AUD$944 million Brisbane Metro bus project has proven successful, it’s been announced recently.

The first Hess vehicle will arrive for testing early next year, it’s reported. The body’s fit-out and finish will be done at Volgren’s Eagle Farm outlet, in Brisbane.

As publicised by Brisbane City Council on Sunday, 24 November, 2019, it will introduce a new fleet of 60 high-capacity Brisbane Metro vehicles. The Metro vehicles will integrate seamlessly into busway operations and share the busway with existing bus services, as part of a better planned network, the council claims.

Following an extensive tender process, the council is recommending "world-leading vehicle manufacturer HESS", in partnership with Brisbane-based supplier Volgren, and "electric infrastructure experts" ABB, to design and build the Brisbane Metro vehicle fleet, it states.

According to the council, Hess and its project partners will deliver a zero-tailpipe-emission, battery-electric fleet of vehicles with state-of-the-art, flash-charging infrastructure.

For commuters to better realise what the whole system would function and look like, the council has released a new video of the electric Metro vehicles, showing the design and key features.



The Metro vehicles will be an Australian-first, using proven European technology that will help future-proof Brisbane’s public transport network, council confirms.

Each vehicle will be 24.4 metres in length and 2.55 metres wide, with the capacity to carry 150 passengers in comfort and 180 passengers in event mode, it states.

Other key features of the Metro vehicle include:

- zero tailpipe emissions, battery electric operation;

- flash charging in under six minutes at the end of route;

- spacious bi-articulated design, providing three large open passenger areas;

- four large double doors along the length of the vehicle for quicker boarding;

- low-floor design from front to rear, providing a high level of accessibility;

- in-built USB charging points and on-board Wi-Fi;

- passenger information displays and next-stop audio-visual route information;

- separated driver’s cabin, providing "superior" driver security;

- panoramic rear window, for "taking advantage of city views";

- and interior illuminated ceiling.

The Metro vehicle will also offer close-to-silent operation and provide a smooth, comfortable journey for passengers, council confirms. 



Initially, HESS and its partners will design and build a pilot Metro vehicle, which will be extensively tested in Brisbane, it’s reported. It is expected to be ready for testing in 2020.

Following the successful trial of the pilot vehicle, the council will have the option to purchase 59 additional Metro vehicles, with services expected to commence late 2023, subject to approvals, it clarifies.

"This is an absolute game changer," said Brisbane City Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner.

"I think the people of Brisbane will be very excited about these vehicles, and proud that their city is taking a positive step to cut vehicle pollution.

"The tender process produced some cutting-edge thinking from the bidders, meaning we will have a near-silent, fully electric transport system."


According to reports in The Courier Mail newspaper, the fleet of vehicles was originally expected to cost $94 million, but the council has confirmed they will now set ratepayers back about $199 million – an additional cost of over $100 million.

The council counters, though, that more than half of the extra cost will be offset by the affordability of running an electric powered fleet.

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