Volgren 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 grant is a part of the state government’s Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund. The two vehicles will be built locally in Dandenong, providing valuable insights on the performance and commercialisation of hydrogen buses in Victoria.
Volgren expects to finalise a prototype for demonstration and on-road testing by the middle of next year and negotiations with a suitable chassis OEM are 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.”
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,” he explained.
“It also means operators and governments can be confident that their vehicle will be on the road for 15 years or more.”
He said a key part of the project would be ensuring key safety requirements are met for flammable gases, high voltage systems and battery storage systems.
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,” Deiro said.
Volgren is Australia’s largest bus body builder with manufacturing operations in Dandenong (Victoria), Eagle Farm (Queensland) and Malaga (Western Australia).
Volgren has designed, built and delivered close to 10,000 bus bodies – including Battery Electric Buses and builds with around 85 per cent local content.
Volgren is a strong advocate of local jobs; manufacturing, fitting out and finalising buses in facilities throughout the country. In Victoria alone, Volgren uses around 100 Australian suppliers and undertakes nearly 90 per cent of production locally.