Bus Industry News, Electric Buses

SA announces new zero-emissions public transport bus trials

The SA government has taken a major step towards realising its zero-emissions transport ambitions with its latest hydrogen bus trial announcement

In a major move for the state’s bus industry, the South Australian government has announced a new range of zero-emissions transport trials, including the introduction of two new hydrogen buses.

This trial includes a two-year hydrogen bus trial, with two hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles set to be deployed on routes across Adelaide from late August at the Morphettville bus depot.

The South Australian government says the first of these hydrogen buses has arrived in Adelaide, wrapped in a striking green decal.

In collaboration with Foton Mobility, BOC and H2H Energy, operator Torrens Transit will then begin internal testing of two Foton hydrogen fuel-cell from the Morphettville depot before being released for operation.

“These trials will be joined by a ground-breaking trial of two hydrogen buses, which demonstrate the real-world application of South Australia’s investment in hydrogen technology through the Hydrogen Jobs Plan,” SA transport minister Tom Koutsantonis says.

“This innovative trial will place South Australia as an Australian leader in applying hydrogen technology across our public transport network. The hydrogen buses will be fuelled with the assistance of the Tonsley Innovation Facility.

“We will leave no stone unturned in the quest to employ cleaner, greener and more efficient technologies across the public transport system that help achieve net zero emissions by 2050 – or even earlier.”

The SA government says the benefits of hydrogen-powered vehicles over battery electric buses include faster refuelling and greater range, which may be critical to delivering services to the outer metro areas and into the regions.

The government says hydrogen fuel carries significantly more energy than the equivalent weight of batteries, which is important as the state government evaluates future technology options, including powering trains on the Belair, Outer Harbor lines and Grange and Port Dock connections.

Adelaide Metro also continues to make significant steps towards a zero-emissions future across its bus fleet, with testing of the state’s first full battery electric bus already well underway.

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As well as being better for the environment, the SA government says full battery electric buses offer a range of benefits for passengers. They offer more space and better comfort and accessibility, while eliminating noise and fuel-based pollution.

A further five full-battery electric buses are on order, pending the results of this trial.

Adelaide Metro is committed to transitioning to a zero-emissions public transport system to support the State Government’s net zero emissions by 2050 target.

Operator Torrens Transit, owned by Transit Systems, estimates that more than 80,000 customers will travel on the new hydrogen buses in the next year, with the green hydrogen to be supplied from Hydrogen Park South Australia.

Torrens Transit’s new managing director Andrew Jenkinson says the operator is thrilled to be trialling the new technology buses in SA.

“At Torrens Transit, we are steadfast in our pursuit for operational excellence and this drives us to improve the daily experience of our passengers. And now, many of them will be reaching their destinations in cleaner and greener buses,” Jenkinson says.

“We commend the South Australian government for embracing sustainable bus solutions and consolidating its position as a true industry leader in the adoption of green energy.

“The entire Torrens Transit team is proud in contributing to a free from diesel reliance in our South Australian communities and beyond.”

Transit Systems estimates that approximately 90 tonnes of CO2 emissions will be saved per year at a minimum through this trial, with the buses adding to Transit Systems’ fleet of sustainable transport solutions that includes an electric depot, 60 electric buses and two hydrogen vehicles.

“We are committed to the relentless investment into researching green technology, while having the expertise and knowledge to deploy efficient change to decarbonise public transport. These hydrogen buses are a perfect example of this, as we are bringing our global experience from operating hydrogen buses in London, to the streets of South Australia,” Transit Systems CEO Michael McGee says.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to incorporate the Premier’s vision to turn South Australia into a world-class producer, user, and exporter of hydrogen. This vision is critical to help combat climate change and transform South Australia’s industry into a major global player in the renewable energy market.

“These hydrogen buses will utilise hydrogen that has been proudly produced at the Tonsley Innovation District. This trial will exploit innovative local supply chain solutions, gauge the economic benefits of renewable energy, and harness local talent as part of the South Australian government’s pioneering work to support local industry into a green future.”

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