Transit Systems (owned by Sealink Travel Group) is currently operating 15 electric buses in Sydney’s Inner West urban streets. With 40 more ordered, the time has come to create the largest electrified depot in Australia.
Australasian Bus and Coach writes, “The Leichhardt depot retrofit will include: the use of 40 electric buses with a combination of 368kWh and 422kWh onboard batteries; five 120kW electric bus chargers capable of charging two buses at a time; 31x 80kW electric bus chargers; 2.5MW/4.9MWh of stationary batteries; and 387kW of rooftop solar PV.”
The combination of onsite batteries and solar means that charging the busses will not a have a detrimental effect on the grid. Scaling up from the initial trial of 4 buses to 40 within the next few months has taken significant amounts of planning across several government and private sector entities. Executive manager for Strategy, Innovation and Technology for Transgrid, Eva Hanley, says:
“The model we’re using could be used to facilitate the roll-out of electric buses and commercial vehicles at large scale across Australia. As we plan for the energy system of the future, this project will give us the data we need to understand how electrification of transport will affect energy supply and demand patterns. The joint venture will deploy technology already activated successfully overseas, while the contracting model is designed to reduce the risk to the operator by eliminating the upfront costs.”
Just as well, because the NSW government is planning to electrify all of the city’s 8,000 buses.
There are a lot of players in this team effort to move the public transit sector to electric: the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA); the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CFEC); Transport for NSW; Transgrid, which operates and manages the high-voltage electricity transmission network in NSW and the ACT; Zenobe, the leading owner and operator of battery storage in the UK; and Sealink Travel Group, which owns Transit Systems.
And of course – the reason why they are doing it: Our customers are telling us they feel better on an electric bus.