WA-made electric bus fleet

The Opportunity

Electric buses represent an enormous potential to reduce the carbon footprint of WA’s transport sector, as well as kickstarting a zero-carbon transport manufacturing sector here in Perth.

Perth’s bus fleet belongs in the last century. Powered by a mix of fossil fuels including diesel, they are heavy emitters of carbon pollution, air pollutants, and noise pollution and actively degrade the amenity of our high streets and quiet neighbourhoods.

Whilst Clean State welcomes the trial of for four all-electric buses from 2022, this initiative is dwarfed by the decision to order 900 new diesel-powered buses last year.

WA has 1,138 diesel buses and 512 gas buses, running up huge fuel bills worth around $40 million every year.

There has been a global push in recent years to ban diesel buses from city centres, with Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens committing to achieve this by 2025. Sydney and Brisbane have committed to all-electric bus fleets.

Most buses on Perth’s metropolitan routes travel 80-90km a day, making them an ideal starting point for conversion to electric.

WA could also support carriage building the new electric fleet right here in Perth, harnessing a manufacturing boom in electric transport.

The Proposal

  1. Commit to a WA-made, all-electric Transperth bus and CAT fleet by 2025, and TransWA fleet by 2030. This could be achieved by immediately renegotiating the recent supply contract for 900 new buses.
  2. Support Perth’s Volgren factory transitioning to manufacturing and maintaining an all-electric bus fleet.
  3. Explore the potential to extend and expand the Volgren factory to convert and retrofit WA’s non-passenger vehicles, including trucks and tractors. Committing to convert the government-owned commercial fleet by 2025 would kickstart this industry.

Jobs and Benefits

240 existing jobs would be supported and up to another 100 created at the Volgren Bus plant in Malaga, with another 20 positions created in the Public Transport Authority.

Transperth’s bus fleet travelled 84 million km in 2018/19, emitting an estimated 109,200 tonnes annually.

An all-electric bus fleet powered by renewables could, therefore, reduce WA’s emissions by over 100,000 tonnes a year.

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