BusTech and Keolis Downer to build electric buses for Queensland

BusTech

BusTech, an Australian bus manufacturer, has been commissioned by the Queensland government to build 16 new electric buses on the Gold Coast. The $15.6 million deal, made with Keolis Downer, will also create the state’s first 100 per cent electric bus depot in North Lakes at the home of Hornibrook Bus Lines.  

The deal was signed this month, according to Transport and Main Roads minister Mark Bailey. 

“This deal will see the largest rollout of electric buses in Queensland to date,” Bailey said. 

“The Palaszczuk government has made a commitment that by 2025 every new urban bus we add to the fleet in SEQ will be zero-emissions, by 2030 we’ll roll that out to the rest of the urban fleet – and of course we want them to be built here in Queensland. 

This is a significant moment for Keolis Downer in Queensland, Keolis Downer CEO David Franks said. 

“We are proud to be partnering with the Queensland government to transition our North Lakes depot to 100 per cent battery electric buses,” Franks said. 

“This means the depot will be using 100 per cent renewable energy, to power a fleet of electric buses, making it a first in Australia, and cementing Keolis Downer’s commitment to accelerate the energy transition with large-scale deployments in public transport.” 

The business is also encouraging local manufacturing through its partnership with BusTech. 

“BusTech Queensland will manufacture the 16 Australian-designed and engineered electric buses in their facility in the Gold Coast, bringing more than $17 million of estimated value into the economy for local suppliers, contractors and local job creation,” Franks said. 

BusTech is excited to be involved in the project, BusTech executive chairman Christian Reynolds said. 

“BusTech is delighted to partner with Keolis Downer to deliver Australian designed, engineered and manufactured zero-emission buses with the most energy dense battery solution,” Reynolds said. 

“Manufactured in Queensland, BusTech’s all-electric ZDi is built with the highest local content of any electric bus available on the Australian market. 

“These 16 new electric buses will provide Queensland with cleaner, quieter transport whilst also supporting employment opportunities, the local supply chain, the renewables industry and generating lasting economic benefits.” 

The new buses will supply a boost to the state’s manufacturing sector, deputy premier and member for Murrumba Steven Miles said. 

“The investment to make the North Lakes depot fully electric and build these buses on the Gold Coast is expected to support 150 jobs over the next two years,” Miles said. 

“It’s also expected to bring more than $17 million of estimated value into the economy for local suppliers, contractors, which is the kind of investment we need right now.” 

The electric bus rollout is a key part of the state government’s renewable energy commitments. 

“By 2030, 50 per cent of our state’s energy will be from renewable sources and this deal with Keolis Downer will play its role in helping Queensland meet that target,” assistant minister for Hydrogen Development Lance McCallum said. 

“While this depot and locally built buses will be electric, we are also keen to encourage the use of renewable hydrogen in transport. 

“Our investment in renewable hydrogen production as a cleaner, cheaper fuel gives us potential to create jobs, reduce transport emissions and export Queensland’s renewables to the world.” 

Member for Bancroft Chris Whiting congratulated Keolis Downer, which owns Hornibrook Bus Lines, on the zero-emissions initiative. 

“Once completed, Hornibrook’s North Lakes depot will no longer house diesel buses and will be home to the 16 new electric buses exclusively,” Whiting said. 

“A full electric depot means reduced noise and no diesel emissions for our community. That will save 13,846 tons of carbon emissions over the life of the buses.” 

The first bus is due to arrive at the North Lakes depot in September 2022, ahead of all 16 being ready for service by late 2023. 

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