First Electric Buses Hit The Road In Sunbury

In a push towards a cleaner and more sustainable Melbourne bus fleet, the first three electric buses hit the road in Sunbury as part of the Zero Emissions Bus Trial.

The Zero Emissions Bus (ZEB) Trial will inform the transition of about 4,000 diesel buses in the state’s public fleet, including around 2,200 in regional Victoria, to zero emissions.

From 2025, all new buses on Victoria’s public transport routes will be zero emissions.

Bus operator Donric is introducing the three zero emission electric buses on existing routes in and around Sunbury – the first buses in Victoria to use solid-state Lithium Metal Polymer (LMP) batteries rather than the more common lithium-ion batteries used in other electric vehicles.

Donric is one of six operators across Victoria taking part in the three-year ZEB Trial which will see 52 zero emission buses – 50 electric and two hydrogen – rolled out across Melbourne, Traralgon and Seymour.

Data collected will provide practical information such as how zero emission buses perform and the energy and charging requirements for different types of routes. It will also give insights into how the buses can improve financial and environmental sustainability.

The trial is also fostering vital local industry partnerships – such as with energy providers and manufacturers – that will be needed to achieve the transition across the state.

Almost all the electric bus bodies in the trial will be built at Volgren’s Dandenong South manufacturing facility in Victoria, supporting local jobs and injecting money into the local economy.

The transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet was accelerated in October 2021 after awarding Melbourne-based Kinetic the franchise to run a third of the metropolitan bus network.

Kinetic will introduce 36 electric buses to the Melbourne fleet by mid-2025, adding to the 52 zero emissions buses being introduced through the ZEB trial.

Creating a greener fleet is part of Victoria’s Bus Plan, developing a modern and reliable network that attracts more passengers, with the new, greener buses critical to the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.