Victoria launches inaugural fleet of Australian-made hydrogen buses

Image credit: Transit Systems' LinkedIn

The Victorian Government is introducing two hydrogen-powered buses across Melbourne’s west in a significant step towards a greener public transport system.

Minister for Public and Active Transport Gabrielle Williams visited the Transit Systems West Footscray bus depot to mark the occasion and discuss the government’s commitment to a sustainable and eco-friendly bus fleet.

The two hydrogen buses, designed and manufactured in Australia, are part of a broader trial involving six operators, including Transit Systems, the government said in a media release.

A total of 52 zero-emission buses, alongside the hydrogen vehicles, will be deployed during the trial, covering routes in Footscray, Williamstown, Moonee Ponds, and Sunshine.

The trial aims to gather practical data on the performance of zero-emission buses, assessing factors such as energy consumption and charging requirements for various route patterns.

This information will be crucial as Victoria looks to transition its entire public transport system to zero-emission buses by 2025.

The initiative encompasses 4,000 diesel buses, with a focus on reducing the environmental impact, including 2,200 buses operating in regional Victoria.

Minister Williams emphasised that addressing emissions within the public transport network is a crucial element of Victoria’s commitment to achieving a net-zero emissions target, and the government is actively testing cutting-edge technologies to achieve emission reductions.

“This is an exciting next step in our journey towards a cleaner bus fleet in Victoria as we get on with transforming the state’s public transport network, delivering more services and slashing emissions,” the minister noted.

Meanwhile, Minister for Climate Action Lily D’Ambrosio stressed the significance of taking action to decarbonise the transport sector due to its substantial greenhouse gas emissions.

“Greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector are significant and it is vital that we act to decarbonise this sector to help us achieve national leading net zero emissions by 2045,” she stated.

As part of the broader vision outlined in the Victorian Budget 2023/24, the government has allocated $20 million to support the rollout of zero-emission buses.

This funding is integral to the implementation of Victoria’s Bus Plan, which aims to establish a modern and reliable public transport network free from reliance on fossil fuels.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses are at the forefront of this transition, emitting only water vapour from their tailpipes.

The estimated annual emissions savings from the two hydrogen buses alone are approximately 90 tonnes.

Transit Systems, operating from their West Footscray depot, will manage the hydrogen buses on routes spanning Melbourne, Williamstown, Moonee Ponds, Footscray, and Sunshine.

The move aligns with the Victorian Government’s ambitious emissions reduction targets, aiming for a world-leading 75-80 per cent reduction by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2045.