Leading transport operator, Transit Systems,  has partnered with  Zenobē and TransGrid,  to complete construction of what it claims is Australia’s largest electrified bus depot at Leichhardt in Sydney’s inner west,  claiming that it provides a verified blueprint for the future of green transport.

The depot is now fully commissioned and operational, and Transit says it is an Australian first at this scale, with a large solar array, base load metering, onsite energy storage system, grid connection and vehicle charging.

Transit Systems COO Greg Balkin, who in his previous role with Transit steered the easy stages of the project  said the project was made possible by international collaboration, which brought the ‘most advanced technologies from around the world into the Sydney bus network’.

“Seeing the depot completed is a true milestone for the Australian public transport industry. We have not just set a benchmark, we have generated a blueprint of industry best practice,” Balkin said.

“We’re incredibly proud of the outcomes achieved and how we have integrated the technology into a world class depot, while maintaining regular services,” he said.

Greg Balkin said one of the best outcomes was realising that the buses do not require as much charging as initially thought.

“With regenerative braking, the buses often come back to the depot with a significant amount of charge still available – this is obviously fantastic as it reduces the load on the recharging infrastructure. It also means less downtime for the buses and we can adopt changes within our network planning to maximise route and energy efficiencies,” he said.

The  overall project covers 55 electric buses currently operational at the Leichhardt depot and saw and a larger grid connection to the site  with an increase of 1.5MVA completed by Ausgrid. Transit says the commissioning of a 1.25MW/2.5MWh Tesla battery system to support the bus charging was also completed, along with a shift to solar power for charging and to minimise impacts on the local grid

The commissioning of the large scale 388kW rooftop solar array, also provided green onsite power generation, while the depot’s charger network included 5 x 120kW DC fast chargers and 31 x AC 80kW Chargers

The project also included smart charging software that monitors buses, charging rates, solar consumption, battery charge/discharge and overall depot electricity energy flows according to Transit.

“This is by far Australia’s largest electrified depot and paves the way for Transport for NSW to reach their target and electrify all 8,000 buses across the network, using the latest technology,” said Balkin.

“We thank our project partners Zenobē and TransGrid, as well as Transport for NSW, ARENA and CEFC for their support in bringing this project to life – we are all incredibly proud of the achievement,” he added.

“We look forward to announcing our next electrification project, taking all of our experience and learnings from this project into the future,” he said.