The largest electric bus depot in Australia has been activated in Leichhardt, a neighborhood in Sydney’s inner west area. The facility boasts 55 electric buses, a rooftop solar array, and a Tesla Megapack.
Leichhardt’s new electric bus depot features a 388 kW rooftop solar array paired with a 1.25 MW/2.5 MWh Tesla Megapack battery. The facility also includes five 120 kW DC fast chargers and 31 AC 80 kW chargers. A smart charging software to monitor charging rates, solar consumption, battery discharge, and electricity flows has also been installed.
“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,” Transit Systems COO Greg Balkin noted.
The electric bus depot is operated by Transit Systems in partnership with Zenobē Energy and TransGrid. It received funding of about AU$24.5 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and AU$5 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, as noted by TheDriven.io. Interestingly enough, the facility is performing better than expected — since it turns out electric bus fleets actually require less charging than originally forecasted.
“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 maximize route and energy efficiencies,” Balkin said.
It should be noted that the depot is just a part of the state’s larger plan to electrify its bus fleet. In December, the state government announced the approval of AU$3 billion in funding for a new fleet of Zero Emissions Buses (ZEBs) and charging infrastructure. Dave Elliot, NSW Minister for Transport, Veterans, and Western Sydney, expressed his optimism about the initiative.
“This major investment will make NSW a global leader and will also deliver benefits to the local economy by supporting over 1400 jobs as we ramp up local bus production,” Elliot said.
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