ABB charges Australia’s first 100% sustainably powered full-size electric bus

ABB charges Australia’s first 100% sustainably powered full-size electric bus

  • As we celebrate World EV Day on September 9 to engage more people in e-mobility, South East Queensland bus passengers are already experiencing the comfort of Australia’s first 100% sustainably powered, full-size electric bus delivered by Transdev
  • ABB’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is powering Transdev’s new 39-seat e-bus on TransLink routes throughout Brisbane and the Redlands
  • ABB’s cloud-connected digital solution for EV chargers means Transdev can remotely monitor the charging infrastructure 24/7 to ensure reliable and efficient bus services

The transport sector accounts for 18.9% of Australia’s emissions, based on the latest National Greenhouse Gas inventory[i] released in 2020. Transport is the fastest-growing contributor to emissions in the country; at a time where the nation aims to reduce emissions to below 2005 levels by 2030. Expanding the adoption of EVs is one of the most effective ways to lower carbon emissions.

Global e-mobility leader and bus operator, Transdev, has risen to the task by placing Australia’s first 100% sustainably powered full-size electric bus on the roads in South East Queensland. Transdev has been operating the new 39-seat e-bus carrying 61 passengers on TransLink routes throughout Brisbane and the Redlands since early 2021, under a two-year partnership with the Queensland State Government.

The bus is 100 per cent powered by ‘harvested’ solar energy powered by 250 solar panels capturing more than 159,000kWh of local sunshine collected on-site at Transdev’s Capalaba depot each year.

ABB Electrification – a global leader in safe, smart and sustainable electrification – and its installation partners worked with Transdev Australasia to provide an integrated grid to plug solution to support their bid to transfer their fleet to electric. All aspects of Transdev’s Queensland depot were evaluated prior to submitting a charging proposal, including analysis of proposed vehicle specification, the number of vehicles being considered, while also accommodating for proposed future expansion of the e-bus fleet.    

Emphasis was specifically focused on providing solutions supporting the existing grid capacity against expected additional loads and power distribution upgrades that supported the future expansion of the charging infrastructure. Intelligent load management ensures effective utilisation of the charging investment and cost-efficient operation charging infrastructure of the depot facility.

“Given that nothing of this scale had been done before in Australia or New Zealand, having a supplier like ABB that had local know-how backed with international experience was essential,” Transdev Australasia Chief Engineer Marc Cleave said.

“ABB is proud to be playing its part in powering the future of public transport in Australia. We worked with both Transdev and Australian bus body manufacturer Volgren to develop a charging solution that would enable zero-emission transportation along the bus routes,” said Steven Amor, ABB Australia’s E-Mobility Segment Lead.

“Because buses follow fixed schedules and routes, there is no unpredictability around the range. The anchor decision is the bus charging strategy – because efficient recharging reduces electric bus operating costs. For Transdev, ABB deployed its e-bus ready Terra 124 dual outlet fast-charging stations that can provide a single 120kW charge or simultaneously charge two buses at 60kW under 5 hours and up to a 300-kilometre range per charge. This solution minimizes downtime and improves utilization of the busses across the planned route.”

The new electric buses were built at Volgren’s factory in Dandenong, Melbourne using close to 100 Australian suppliers and almost 90 percent proportion of local production. The chassis and the 348 kW lithium phosphate battery were manufactured by Chinese company BYD.    

Volgren CEO, Thiago Deiro, said the introduction of zero-emission buses in Australia would have significant benefits for commuters, fleet operators, the health sector and, most importantly, the environment: "The fleet transition to electric buses that we're now seeing will play an important part in reducing transport emissions in Australia and globally, which is essential for the community in so many ways.

"Our goal is to not only make the very best electric bus bodies but to share knowledge and be part of the solution with international partners like ABB and Transdev."

Transdev was also looking for a digital solution that would integrate with solar-powered panels. ABB’s high-power chargers form part of the ABB Ability ™ portfolio of digital solutions. They benefit from cloud connectivity, which allows network operators 24-hour availability of the charging infrastructure to perform tasks remotely, such as monitoring diagnosis and upgrades to maximise charger availability and ensure reliable and efficient infrastructure.

“Our DC fast chargers run on the ABB Ability Connected Services Platform, which employs Microsoft’s Azure cloud services to enhance uptime, scalability and operational efficiencies, as well as to provide real-time remote support services. ABB provides EV charging stations and critical EV charging infrastructure components, such as substations, energy storage systems, and eco-friendly switchgear. These technologies are designed so that EV charging stations, once installed, will be both future-proof and scalable,” Steve added.

“ABB and Transdev share a similar vision around the potential of e-mobility and transportation to transform society. Our common goal is to accelerate the introduction of emission-free transportation by creating an environmentally friendly bus fleet supported by a standardized, fast, efficient and reliable charging system that will serve Transdev’s expanding electric bus fleet both today and into the future.”

[i] National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.


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