Volgren delivers first of 36 electric buses to Melbourne
Australia’s largest bus bodybuilder, Volgren, has delivered the first two of 36 electric buses that will roll off the Melbourne-based manufacturer’s production line over the next three years.
Dandenong-based Volgren began production of its first prototype electric bus in mid-2019 ahead of what the company expected to be the “biggest transformation in three or four decades” for the bus industry .
It has now delivered the first of two battery electric buses to the Victorian Department of Transport and bus operator Kinetic, which now owns the Melbourne Bus Franchise (MBF).
Part of Kinetic’s contract to operate the MBF was a promise to introduce 36 all-electric buses to the network by mid-2025. Over the life of the contract, more than half of the franchise’s fleet – 341 out of 537 buses – will also be replaced with low- or zero-emission models.
“Since announcing the Melbourne bus franchise last year, we have created 30 new jobs,” said Thiago Deiro, CEO of Volgren.
“We hope to employ another 20 people this year alone, as production on [battery electric buses] picked up. And, as has been the case for many years now, the vast majority of the content we use for these buses will come from the local supply chain.
“Australian manufacturing now offers the highest levels of quality I have seen during my time in the industry. This comes from Volgren’s expertise, combined with the exceptional quality of materials and components produced by suppliers in Victoria and Australia.
The 36 battery electric buses for the Kinetic-run MBF are not the only electric buses set to hit Victoria’s bus network, according to Victoria Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll, who said 78 electric buses will be added to the Victoria bus network by 2025. .
Volgren is currently on schedule to deliver another 12 battery electric buses to Kinetic by the end of the year.
“The introduction of electric buses is part of our ongoing investment to create a more reliable, safe, clean and green bus network that attracts more people as their preferred mode of travel,” said Adam Begg, co-CEO of Kinetic.
“These new electric buses are better for the environment, better for our communities and make better financial sense.”
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has written about climate change, clean technology and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew the economy and The Driven since 2012. His favorite form of transportation is his feet.