Wheels turning on manufacture of electric buses in WA - Public Transport Authority of Western Australia
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Wheels turning on manufacture of electric buses in WA

In a major milestone for the transition to zero-emission public transport in Western Australia, the first battery electric bus to be manufactured as part of a joint $250 million Federal State Government initiative has now been completed.

The Australian Government has committed $125 million toward electric bus charging infrastructure in Perth, combined with a $125 million commitment from the WA Government, for the acquisition of 130 locally-manufactured electric buses.

The bus was built and manufactured locally at the Volgren facility in Malaga, in Perth's north.

The investment will also include the installation of charging infrastructure at key depots and major upgrades to manufacturing facilities to support the future production of electric buses.

The bus is now undergoing testing and commissioning and is expected to enter services in the next two months.

The new bus will be one of 18 going onto the CBD CAT bus routes, with a $1.65 million contract recently awarded to JET Charge Pty Ltd to install charging infrastructure at the Elizabeth Quay Bus Station.

All 18 new battery electric CATs are expected to be in service by the middle of next year, with each able to travel up to 300 kilometres on a single charge.

Analysis undertaken by the WA Government shows the cost to operate an electric bus across its 18-year service life is around $1 million less than the current diesel buses.

The delivery of the first full fleet of electric buses comes after a four-vehicle trial began in the Joondalup area, in northern Perth, in February 2022.

All four buses are still in service, operating from the Joondalup Bus Depot using a high-voltage EV charging system.

Since the trial began, they've carried more than 440,000 passengers and covered more than 380,000 kilometres, saving about 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the process.

The investment to deliver the new electric bus fleet in Western Australia is directly supporting more than 100 local jobs, including nine apprenticeships.

Volgren has been building Transperth buses at its Malaga facility since 1999, with more than 2200 manufactured and delivered over that time.

Staff have also undertaken specialised high-voltage technical training in recent weeks to prepare them for the growing electric bus fleet.

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