Australian bus body manufacturer Volgren has commenced production of its first ever electric bus, as part of what the company hopes is a larger transition to zero-emissions transport.
The milestone is the culmination of a five-year development period for Volgren, which has sought to be pro-active in shifting to all electric buses, while wanting to ensure passengers enjoy a reliable service.
Volgren says it is Australia's largest producer of bus bodies and has previously partnered with major chassis manufacturers including MAN, Volvo and Scania.
'We've known for some time that the bus industry was about to go through its biggest transformation in three or four decades. And we wanted to approach this shift with the best information at our disposal.' Volgren business development manager Jon Tozer said in a statement.
'We wanted to understand the products, the technologies and the solutions available in the market before beginning our work in earnest,”
Volgren will complete its first prototype electric bus in June, with an operating range of 250km. The prototype will be produced at Volgren's Australian headquarters in Dandenong in Victoria.
The bus will be equipped with 324kWh of battery storage, that can be charged in four to five hours between routes upon returning to its depot.
The first bus will be ready for its first passengers in August, following a period of testing by Volgren engineers.
Due to the falling cost of battery technologies, Volgren believes the bus market is on the cusp of being cost competitive with existing diesel fuelled options.
While all electric buses still have higher up-front purchase costs, significantly lower operating costs, including reduced fuel costs, mean that electric buses will soon be cheaper over the full life of the vehicle, if not already.
This story was first published on our EV-focused sister site The Driven
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Michael Mazengarb is a journalist with RenewEconomy, based in Sydney. Before joining RenewEconomy, Michael worked in the renewable energy sector for more than a decade.