Volgren delivers first of 36 electric buses in Melbourne

Australia’s largest bus body builder, Volgren, has delivered the first two of 36 electric buses set to roll off the Melbourne-based manufacturer’s production line over the next three years.

The Dandenong-based Volgren began production of its first electric bus prototype back in mid-2019 ahead of what the company expected to be the “biggest transformation in three or four decades” for the bus industry.

It has now delivered the first of two battery electric buses to Victoria’s Department of Transport and the bus operator Kinetic, which now has the Melbourne Bus Franchise (MBF).

Part of Kinetic’s contract to operate the MBF was a promise to introduce 36 fully electric buses to the network by mid-2025. Over the full length of the contract, more than half of the franchise fleet – 341 out of 537 buses – will also be replaced with low or zero-emissions models.

“Since the Melbourne Bus Franchise was announced last year we’ve created 30 new jobs,” said Thiago Deiro, CEO of Volgren.

“We hope to employ another 20 staff this year alone as production on [battery electric buses] picks up. And, as has been the case for many years now, the vast majority of content we use for these buses will come from the local supply chain.

“Australian manufacturing now offers the highest quality levels I’ve ever seen during my time in the industry. That comes from Volgren expertise, combined with the exceptional quality of materials and components produced by suppliers throughout Victoria and Australia.”

Source: Volgren

The 36 battery-electric buses destined for the Kinetic-run MBF are not the only electric buses due to hit Victoria’s bus network, according to Victorian public transport minister Ben Carroll, who said there will be 78 electric buses added to Victoria’s bus network by 2025.

Volgren is currently on schedule to deliver a further 12 battery electric buses to Kinetic by the end of the year.

“Introducing electric buses is part of our ongoing investment to create a more reliable, safe, clean and green bus network that appeals to more people as their preferred mode of travel,” said Adam Begg, Kinetic co-CEO.

“These new electric buses are better for the environment, better for our communities and make better financial sense.”

Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.

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