Australians show strong support for switch to locally made electric buses

Australians are very positive about taking a locally made electric bus as part of their daily commute, with new research showing that a large majority support the electrification of public transport.

A new research report released by The Australia Institute, titled Next step: Zero-emission buses by 2030details the results of a poll which shows growing support from the Australian public for the adoption of ambitious electric transport policies, particularly in Victoria.

The poll shows that 71% of Victorians support the state government’s adoption of a target of 100% zero-emission bus fleets by 2030 – matching a similar political commitment that has already been adopted by New South Wales – with only 17% of respondents opposed to such a target.

“Our research and polls show strong community support for Victoria, matching New South Wales’ policy of moving to 100% electric buses by 2030,” said Audrey Quicke, researcher at the ‘Australia Institute.

“Progress towards electrification is mixed across the country, with states like NSW ahead and Victoria just behind. Other states and the federal government have completely missed the bus.

“Full electrification of bus fleets is a very popular policy option among Australians. The Climate of the Nation 2021 report shows that three out of four Australians support the full electrification of state bus fleets by 2030,” Quicke added.

The poll shows the same proportion of Victorian respondents supporting Australian bus manufacturing – at 71% support – which included majority support among Australians regardless of political affiliation.

Coalition voters were more likely to support Australian-made buses at 78%, with the majority of One Nation voters (54%) supporting making local buses even if it means higher transport costs.

A majority of those polled also supported moving transport from private cars to public transport networks, although Conservative voters were less likely to give up using their own car.

The transport sector ranks as the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia, with Australians currently highly dependent on private vehicles for travel, most of which run on petrol.

The emergence of a growing range of electric vehicles – including electric buses – has created a significant opportunity to reduce Australia’s emissions footprint, as they can be powered by zero-emission energy sources like wind and solar.

“Shifting from the use of private passenger vehicles to zero-emission public transport will help reduce Australia’s growing transport emissions,” the research paper states.

“When considering other factors, such as population growth – particularly in urban areas – and the large emissions of non-CO2 pollutants associated with traditional diesel buses, it is clear that the electrification of buses should be a central pillar of any transport decarbonisation strategy”.

Quicke, co-author of the report, said the transition of bus fleets to electric models offered a positive opportunity to reduce emissions from transport, as well as foster the emergence of new manufacturing industries in Australia.

“State and territory governments are leading the transition to electric buses in Australia. If the federal government seriously considered decarbonizing the transportation sector, it would increase financial support for the purchase of electric buses,” Quicke said.

“The shift to electric buses ticks all the boxes – job creation, manufacturing, public transport and, of course, climate action,”

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