Three major players in Australian public transport are exploring the possibility of a partnership to build zero-emission buses in Western Sydney.
ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia Pty Ltd (CDC), which runs public bus and charter services in several regional and metropolitan locations across the country, has announced plans to join forces with Volvo Bus Australia Pty Ltd and Volgren Pty Ltd to explore the establishment of a manufacturing facility at CDC’s wholly owned St Marys depot in Western Sydney to build battery-electric buses.
The proposed facility has the potential to help to increase the supply of locally manufactured zero-emission buses for all bus operators, supporting the New South Wales Government’s plan to transition the state’s entire bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2047, and to help achieve federal net-zero emissions by 2050.
The plan would also bring benefits to a long-standing manufacturing region of Australia, with the potential to create local apprenticeships, jobs and skills growth in emerging green vehicle technologies in Western Sydney and across New South Wales. It could also result in an increased quantity of local supply chain content, boosting the long-term availability of zero-emission buses for the Australian market.
The partnership has worked together on other projects to reduce vehicle emissions, including the assembly of the largest hybrid bus fleet in Australia for CDC and an upcoming electric bus trial in Melbourne. It has also completed other projects for the greater good, including the Delivering a Greener West sustainability program and the launch of Australia’s first-ever dementia-friendly forest and sensory trail in Woowookarung regional park in Ballarat.
ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC) CEO, Nicholas Yap, said that fulfilment of the agreement with Volvo and Volgren will provide multiple benefits across the community.
“CDC has a longstanding commitment to implementing the latest green technologies to our bus fleets, as demonstrated by our hybrid buses and upcoming battery-electric and hydrogen-powered bus ventures,” Mr Yap said.
“We’ve also worked to enhance the communities in which we operate through the provision of meaningful work opportunities, while working with our valued partners and suppliers to create and realise opportunities.
“This partnership touches on all of these important cornerstones while allowing us to unlock more potential from our St Marys location and provide upskilling opportunities for manufacturing workers in Western Sydney,” he said.
Volvo Bus Australia General Manager, Mitchell Peden, said that the partnership could provide New South Wales with a strong resource to support the state’s growing requirement for zero-emission buses.
“The New South Wales Government’s aim to transition the entire Transport for New South Wales fleet to zero-emission buses by 2047 is a worthy and ambitious undertaking which we seek to support as much as possible,” Mr Peden said.
“Whilst this project helps to showcase the ability to assemble our Volvo BZL Electric chassis in Australia to meet the needs of various state governments, achieving this outcome requires a significant change to the manufacturing ecosystem and long-term commitments to pooling knowledge and resources and upskilling workforces.
“Volvo Bus has worked closely and successfully with CDC and Volgren in the past and we are committed to negotiating a workable solution to help New South Wales achieve their target,” he said.
Volgren CEO, Thiago Deiro, said the partnership presents an excellent opportunity to boost the production of zero-emission transport and strengthen the manufacturing skills base in New South Wales.
“Volgren is an intrinsic part of Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia’s manufacturing ecosystems, offering meaningful employment and training opportunities while helping to support the states transport industries with world-class, state-of-the-art buses,” Mr Deiro said.
“The opportunity to perform the same role in a manufacturing stronghold of New South Wales, while producing the latest generation battery-electric buses, is an exciting prospect that we wish to pursue,” he said.
Talks between the partners are continuing.