Victoria to trial fully electric bus depot

A depot in Melbourne’s north will undergo a complete makeover this year

Victoria to trial fully electric bus depot
Ventura will refurbish its Ivanhoe depot to become fully electric

The Victorian government says it will be trialling its first fully electric bus depot in early 2024 as part of the government’s zero emissions bus trial.

The new depot would be charging 27 buses in Melbourne’s north by early 2024, as Victoria has enlisted bus operator Ventura to install 15 charging units to power the electric buses at its converted depot in Ivanhoe.

The first 12 electric trial buses will enter the network this year as part of the $20 million trial.

The Victorian government says the depot’s 27 electric buses will operate on nine routes across the northern suburbs by 2024, transporting around 10,000 people weekly to places like La Trobe University and Northland Shopping Centre while covering more than 1.2 million kilometres a year.

Victorian public transport minister Ben Carroll says this trial will provide an ideal opportunity to study the effectiveness of the zero-emissions bus move.

"We have a big job ahead of us as we transition our bus fleet to zero emissions, so having the opportunity to study and learn from the conversion of Ventura’s depot to a fully electric bus depot will be invaluable to this process," Carroll says.

"We’re transitioning away from diesel to fume-free buses in an orderly and informed way that brings the bus operators, manufacturers and energy providers along with us."

The major works that’ll go into converting Ventura’s site to being fully electric involves constructing a new on-site substation and installing battery-management technology alongside charging units, as work is set to begin in July and be completed by November.

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The initiative will then provide insights into the challenges involved with transitioning entire bus depots into battery electric bus technology ahead of future conversions in the coming years.

Six Victorian bus companies have been selected to trial two hydrogen and 50 electric buses across current routes in Melbourne, Seymour and Traralgon that will hopefully foster partnerships between operators, manufacturers and energy companies.

Ventura managing director Andrew Cornwall says his company has a valuable role to play in helping transition the industry.

"The transitioning from diesel buses to locally built electric buses at our Ivanhoe depot will be a breath of fresh air for customers travelling to destinations such as Latrobe University, Northland Shopping Centre, Preston Market and Gowrie Station," Cornwall says.

"This trial will pave the way for us to have confidence in purchasing the correct equipment to fit out our remaining 11 depots in time for the transition to all new buses to be zero emission from 2025."

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