Volgren has announced it will use a grant from the Victorian state government to develop its first Australian designed and built, commercial-grade hydrogen fuel cell electric bus.

The two vehicles will be built locally in Dandenong, and will be part of the  Victorian Government’s Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund, providing what the company describes as  a ‘valuable insights on the performance and commercialisation of hydrogen buses in Victoria’.

Volgren says it expects to finalise a prototype for demonstration and on-road testing by mid-next year and negotiations with a suitable OEM chassis manufacturer is currently underway.

Thiago Deiro, CEO of Volgren said the project is an exciting opportunity to introduce hydrogen fuel cell electric buses in Victoria and develop local expertise in clean energy utilisation.

“Volgren has always been at the vanguard of adopting new technologies. We’ve proven that with the development of our Battery Electric Buses and now we have the opportunity to do the same with our first hydrogen prototype.”

“This valuable investment from the Victorian Government prioritises renewable transport options and supports Victorian jobs. It also contributes to the Victorian Government’s clean energy transition and will help support Victoria’s long-term target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” he said.

Deiro said the investment would enable Volgren to design a hydrogen bus for local conditions and work towards a continuous production of hydrogen vehicles.

“By creating local manufacturing capabilities, you reduce the dependency of importing full hydrogen buses. You also develop the local supply chain and the training needed to service and maintain hydrogen technology.”

“It also means operators and governments can be confident that their vehicle will be on the road for 15 years or more,” he added.

Deiro said a key part of the project would be ensuring key safety requirements are met for flammable gasses, high voltage system and battery storage system.

It is estimated that the Optimus-bodied, hydrogen prototype will reduce emissions by around 30 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to a diesel bus.

“Volgren is committed to contributing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation system and believe both electric and hydrogen buses have a place in a zero carbon world,” he added.