Keolis Downer creates Queensland’s first all-electric depot

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Following its announcement of a strategic partnership with Keolis Downer, one of Australia’s largest private providers of public transport, local bus builder BusTech Group is set to manufacture 16 new electric buses for operation in Queensland. The AU$15.6 million deal with Keolis Downer will also create the state’s first 100% electric bus depot in North Lakes at the home of operator Hornibrook Bus Lines.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the deal would play an important part in Queensland’s Covid-19 economic recovery plan. “This deal will see the largest rollout of electric buses in Queensland to date,” he commented. “These buses will be built right here in Queensland, at BusTech on the Gold Coast. The Palaszczuk Government has made a commitment that by 2025 every new urban bus we add to the fleet in SEQ will be zero-emissions, by 2030 we’ll roll that out to the rest of the urban fleet – and of course we want them to be built here in Queensland. This agreement gives us a good head start because the first bus is due to arrive at Hornibrook’s North Lakes depot by the end of next year.”

Deputy Premier and Member for Murrumba Steven Miles said the agreement was a win for local commuters. “Hornibrook Bus Lines runs bus services through our northern suburbs, so I can’t wait to see these quieter and cleaner vehicles on our roads,” he said.
“This isn’t just a good deal for commuters and our environment, it’s a boost to our state’s manufacturing sector too. The investment to make the North Lakes depot fully electric and build these buses on the Gold Coast is expected to support 150 jobs over the next two years. It’s also expected to bring more than AU$17 million of estimated value into the economy for local suppliers, contractors, which is the kind of investment we need right now.”

Keolis Downer CEO David Franks called it a ‘significant moment’ for the business in Queensland. “We are proud to be partnering with the Queensland Government to transition our North Lakes depot to 100% battery electric buses,” he said. “This means the depot will be using 100% renewable energy, to power a fleet of electric buses, making it a first in Australia, and cementing Keolis Downer’s commitment to accelerate the energy transition with large-scale deployments in public transport. With this project, we are also encouraging local manufacturing through our partnership with BusTech Group. BusTech Queensland will manufacture the 16 Australian-designed and engineered electric buses in their facility in the Gold Coast, bringing more than AU$17 million of estimated value into the economy for local suppliers, contractors and local job creation.”

BusTech Group Executive Chairman Christian Reynolds said the company was excited to be involved in the project: “BusTech Group is delighted to partner with Keolis Downer to deliver Australian designed, engineered and manufactured zero-emission buses with the most energy dense battery solution. Manufactured in Queensland, BusTech’s all-electric ZDi is built with the highest local content of any electric bus available on the Australian market. These new electric buses will provide Queensland with cleaner, quieter transport whilst also supporting employment opportunities, the local supply chain, the renewables industry and generating lasting economic benefits.”

The first bus is due in September 2022, with the remainder following in 2023.

BusTech is to supply 16 new electric buses to operator Keolis Downer in Queensland. BUSTECH