Photography by: courtesy Brisbane City Council

COSTS WILL REMAIN within the already allocated Brisbane Metro e-bus project budget following a recent media reveal of the latest vehicle-render – tweaked for Brisbane temperature and light conditions – Brisbane Council has confirmed.

The pilot vehicle will be tested in Switzerland this year, before arriving in Brisbane for local testing in 2022, the Brisbane Times reports.

According to the city’s Brisbane Times newspaper, the pilot Brisbane Metro vehicle will include, "…a raft of changes to boost accessibility and commuter comfort in a south-east Queensland climate, including more priority seating, upgraded window tinting and airconditioning, after testing in virtual reality and on a life-size timber model."

The final design is for the first 60 articulated and electric buses underpinning the council’s flagship AUD$1.2 billion high-frequency transport program, it states, with lord mayor Adrian Schrinner confirming the vehicles would be the first of their kind in Australia.

As the article explains, tweaks worked through with vehicle designer Hess and stakeholders - including the accessibility sector and Energex since last year - will lead to minor contracting changes, but the council insists costs will remain within the already allocated budget, the article reports.



Cr Schrinner told the Brisbane Times the final design featured more than 35 major changes since the shift to electric vehicles was announced in late 2019, along with a raft of safety, operation and maintenance enhancements.

"The consultation that led to this final design was comprehensive and included virtual reality and the construction of a life-size timber mock-up of the pilot vehicle to ensure accessibility, usability and comfort could be thoroughly tested," Cr Schrinner said.

As the publication explains, priority seating spaces will jump from two to 10, with an additional mobility space increasing capacity to three along the 24.4-metre-long, 2.55-metre-wide, three-carriage vehicles – capable of carrying 150 people or 180 for events.

Route maps will display on screens similar to those seen in the city’s first trial electric bus, launched in June, and be matched with audible travel announcements akin to those broadcast across the city’s train network, it reports.

Window tinting on the vehicles will be upgraded to address the higher UV levels in Brisbane – compared to the European roads they have previously been built for and be tested on this year by the Swiss firm – with high-performing air-conditioning, on-board WIFI and USB points, it adds.



End-of-trip charging facilities have also been improved, with permanent infrastructure to be brought forward in place of previously planned temporary solutions, the Brisbane Times explains.

The first charging station is being installed at Countess Street as part of a range of early works set to start this month, it states.

As reported, public transport committee chair Ryan Murphy says the improvements meant minor contract changes had been agreed to with HESS, but would be rolled into the existing project budget.

 "We are investing in these more advanced designs now as they will deliver an improved Brisbane Metro vehicle while reducing future risks around the electric-vehicle fleet and charging infrastructure," Cr Murphy said.

"The vehicles and charging system are one of the most significant developments in the electric vehicle industry, worldwide, and this is the first vehicle of its kind in Australia, so we always anticipated the design process would be a journey with multiple developments."

The pilot vehicle will be tested in Switzerland this year, before arriving in Brisbane for local testing in 2022, the article confirms.


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