Queensland has beaten the rest of Australia by becoming  the first state to open a a fully electric bus depot powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, with the unveiling of  the depot at Currumbin on the Gold Coast last week.

The new Currumbin depot is powered by a 56-kilowatt solar panel array and is expected to initially house 14 buses mostly travelling the 777 route from the airport to Coolangatta.

Queensland minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey said  the opening of the depot ‘builds on the state government’s recently released Zero Emissions Vehicle strategy.

“We’ve made a commitment that every new bus in southeast Queensland would be zero emission from 2025, so to see it happening now is a fantastic achievement,” Bailey said.

“That commitment expands to our regions between 2025 and 2030.

“Electric buses are better for the environment and mean people will be breathing in fresher, cleaner air when they are walking around.

“We’ve had some electric buses in southeast Queensland since April last year, and now we’ll have an extra 30 hitting the road across Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Logan.”

Queensland’s Environment Minister, Meaghan Scanlon, who is Gold Coast-based , said she was excited to see her city host Australia’s first all-electric bus depot.

“Having an emissions free bus depot here on the Gold Coast is fantastic not only for our local environment, but all of Queensland,” said Scanlon.

“Transport is the second biggest emitter in Queensland but is rapidly evolving to embrace zero emissions technology.

“This is huge also for our Queensland Climate Action Plan. Our research shows each electric bus could save as much as 1,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases over its lifespan and deliver many community benefits with less noise and harmful air pollution.

“Queensland is seizing the opportunities to act on climate change, create jobs and set Queensland in a nation-leading position for the future.

“I’m sure customers across Queensland will enjoy riding on the new buses knowing that the project is playing an important role in the future of public transport in this state.”

The rollout  of electric buses  in Queensland is picking up pace  with transport company Kinetic introducing five new buses each on the Sunshine Coast and Cairns from early May and June respectively through its Sunbus operation, while its Gold Coast based bus operation Surfside Buslines will launch 10 new electric buses on the Gold Coast from late June.

As well as that Gold Coast based bus maker, BusTech is currently building 10 electric buses for Clarks Logan City, and these are due to commence services in Logan in June.

Kinetic Co-CEO Adam Begg said Kinetic was excited to partner with Translink to enhance the public transport experience and make bus travel greener and cleaner.

“This year alone we’ll be introducing 20 zero emission buses to Queensland roads across Cairns, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast,” Begg said.

“We congratulate the Queensland Government on its leadership transitioning bus networks to greener, cleaner technologies and we’re proud to bring to the table our experience operating zero emissions buses in other major cities including in Auckland, Christchurch and soon in Melbourne.”

Clarks Logan City Director Reg Clark said he was looking forward to adding the electric buses to the business’ fleet.

“We are very excited to see the reaction of the community to not only a zero-emission fleet but also to how the fleet will perform,” Clark said.

“The opportunities this project is providing, not just from a new technology perspective but also the new skill sets we will be embracing, is beyond exciting and will further embed Logan as a community of choice.

“With the locally-acquired Tritium charger installation complete and the buses in build down the road at BusTech, this project really ticks all the boxes from a local supply chain perspective.”

Sixteen new Hornibrook Bus Lines electric buses, as well as two bioethanol-fuelled buses bound for a 12-month trial in Mackay, are also scheduled to arrive on the network later this year.