Victoria begins electric bus deployment in Melbourne, installs first offsite charging station

CDC Electric Bus. Image credit:

The Victorian government has deployed the first of eight electric buses in Melbourne’s southeast and Australia’s first offsite charging station at Monash University.

The deployment is part of the Andrews Labor government’s $20 million Zero Emissions Bus (ZEB) Trial, continuing its efforts towards a cleaner and more sustainable bus fleet in the state.

The trial will inform the net zero transition of around 4,000 diesel buses in the state’s public fleet, including approximately 2,200 in regional Victoria. From 2025, all new buses on Victoria’s public transport routes will be zero emissions, the Victorian government said in a media statement.

The first of eight electric buses, introduced by bus operator Comfort DelGro Corporation Australia (CDC), will operate on route 601 on weekdays and route 630 on weekends. The aforementioned routes connect thousands of students and staff at Monash University’s Clayton Campus campus with Huntingdale, Gardenvale, and Ormond Stations.

Australia’s first enroute offsite charging station was also installed at the Monash University bus interchange at the Clayton campus, enabling top-up charging for the buses during their daily operation and allowing them to stay in service longer each day.

CDC 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 in the trial is expected to deliver practical information, such as how zero-emission buses perform and the energy and charging requirements needed for different routes.

The trial will also provide insights into how the buses can improve financial and environmental sustainability. Establishing a greener bus fleet in the state is part of achieving the Victorian government’s 2045 net zero goals.

“Tackling emissions in the bus industry is critical to Victoria meeting its new commitment of net zero emissions by 2045 and we have a plan to achieve that by investing in greener technologies and supporting local manufacturing,’ said Minister for public transport Ben Carroll.

“ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC) is proud to collaborate with the Victorian Government, along with industry partners Volvo, Volgren, ENGIE, Monash University and TSA Advisory for its Electric Bus trial,’ said Nicholas Yap, chief executive at CDC.

“This trial illustrates the benefits of industry leaders and government working together on the journey towards zero-emissions public transport, and I am excited to see it come to life on the streets of Melbourne.”