The first electric CAT buses for Perth will commence use in Joondalup in January 2022, spawned from a partnership between Volvo and local manufacturer Volgren. The first of the four buses have been built, with the second under construction.
With the manufacture of the two buses being undertaken in Melbourne, on-road testing will begin by October in anticipation of January’s trial. As well as the Joondalup CAT network these vehicles will service some northern suburban routes.
“Many local residents have raised the idea of an electric bus trial in Joondalup – I presented the idea to the Minister for Transport and am so pleased that we have confirmation this will start early next year,” Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton said.
Modifications to the Joondalup bus depot including changes to the parking layout, maintenance facility and high-voltage EV charging system installation are estimated to be 75 per cent complete.
Four trial vehicles will be supplied to the Public Transport Authority by Volvo through their existing bus supply agreement. Volvo currently holds a $549 million contract to deliver 900 new buses between 2019 and 2029, with the potential to deliver electric vehicles in future if the trial is a success.
The Western Australian state government expects Volvo’s partnership with Volgren will allow for future electric buses to be fitted out locally. The Volgren facility is located in Malaga, which will support local jobs and apprenticeships.
“This is about supporting our public transport, cleaner transport and ensuring we partner with industry for the best employment outcomes. This is part of our vision of not only supporting cleaner transport, but also local manufacturing,” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said.
Hamilton said the partnership will ensure the buses are reliable and proven to perform well over time.
“Our government is transforming the transport options available in the northern suburbs, and this provides another option for people to choose how to travel.“