What is the Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) Trial?
Metro Tasmania’s Zero Emission Bus (ZEB) trial consists of two sub-trials of different ZEB technologies, supported by the Tasmanian Government through Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania.
- Battery Electric Bus Trial (Launceston)
- Four Battery Electric Buses (BEBs) will operate on a wide range of existing Metro routes for two years, commencing in late 2023. A BEB is powered by an electric motor with the energy coming from on-board batteries. Mains power electricity is used to charge the batteries through chargers, which will be installed in Metro’s Launceston depot.
- Fuel Cell Electric Bus Trial (Hobart)
- Three Fuel Cell Electric Buses (FCEBs) will operate on a wide range of existing Metro routes for three years, commencing in mid 2024. A FCEB is also powered by an electric motor, with hydrogen gas used as the fuel. The hydrogen is converted to electricity on-board through a fuel-cell. The ‘exhaust’ from a FCEB is water, coming out as steam. The FCEBs will be refuelled at a hydrogen refuelling station, which will be installed at Metro’s Mornington depot.
Why is Metro doing the ZEB trial?
The transport sector is a significant contributor to Tasmania’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Tasmanian Government is funding the trial to learn about how we can reduce our vehicle emissions, as we play our part to help Tasmania achieve net zero emissions by 2030.
Tasmania is one of the few places in the world to already be 100% self-sufficient in renewable electricity. We can use this emissions-free electricity to power a battery electric bus (BEB) by charging its batteries.
Our renewable electricity can also be used to produce ‘green hydrogen’ gas, which is expected to be increasingly used globally as a substitute for fossil fuels across many sectors, including heavy transport.
The Tasmanian Government is promoting the State as a major potential producer and exporter of green hydrogen. With funding provided by the Tasmanian Government, Metro’s Fuel Cell Electric Bus (FCEB) trial will kick-start this emerging industry as Tasmania’s first project using green hydrogen.
For Metro, the ZEB trial will provide valuable operational experience to help it plan for a longer-term, future transition of its fleet to zero-emission buses.
- Installation of the battery chargers at the Launceston depot by Cromarty is well underway, with the chargers themselves to be installed in the next two weeks.
- Production of the BEB by Custom Denning is all progressing well, with all four buses now on the production line in Sydney. The BEB are now all due to arrive in Launceston in December.
- The contract for supply of a telematics system for the trial was awarded to ZF Australia
- A tender for a provider to conduct Community and Stakeholder Surveys for the trial was released. The surveys will enable the capture of community and industry learnings and attitudes about zero emission transport fuels and technologies throughout the course of the trials.
- A tender for supply of a telematics system was conducted. The telematics system will enable capture of data about the performance of the ZEB’s, such as rates of power and fuel consumption, to allow future analysis of the performance of the vehicles.
- Our Battery Electric Bus (BEB) Chargers, crafted by ABB in Europe, have arrived at our Launceston depot and are ready to be installed come late September.
- A comprehensive Safety Workshop, covering HazOp (Hazard and Operability Study) and SiD (Safety in Design), was recently conducted. This workshop focused on our upcoming Hydrogen Refueling Station, which will be located at the Mornington Satellite depot. The workshop brought together a diverse group of participants, including our Metro staff, representatives from Tas Fire Service, CBOS – Gas Standards and Safety, and the experienced professionals from our contractor, H2H Energy.
- Metro Tasmania has appointed three firms to supply equipment for operational trials of two separate zero emission bus technologies in Tasmania. The contracts were awarded following an extensive request for expression of interest and a subsequent request-for-tender process run late last year:Foton Mobility Distribution Pty Ltd – supply and maintenance of three hydrogen fuel cell electric buses (FCEB) in Hobart.H2H Energy Pty Ltd – supply and maintenance of one Hydrogen Refuelling Station to be installed at Metro’s Mornington satellite yard in Hobart.Custom Bus Group Pty Ltd – supply and maintenance of three battery electric city buses (BEB) and associated battery chargers for Launceston.
- In Hobart, three FCEBs will operate on a wide range of Metro routes for three years, expected to commence in mid-2024.
- The BEBs will operate Metro services across the Launceston network for two years starting in the last quarter of 2023.
- Metro has also agreed with Custom to purchase a fourth battery electric bus for the Launceston based BEB Trial.
- Contracts to supply the new buses, battery chargers and hydrogen refuelling station have been unconditionally awarded to the successful tenderers.
- A public announcement of the successful tenderers is expected in July.
- A Planning Permit for the Hydrogen Refuelling Station at the Mornington depot has been issued by Clarence City Council.
- Contracts to supply the new buses, battery chargers and hydrogen refueller expected to be awarded in late May, with successful tenderers to be announced in June.
- Replacement of the Launceston depot main electrical switchboard is scheduled for the last week in May.
- The Development Application for the Hydrogen Refuelling Station at the Mornington depot is currently on public notice, until 24 May.
- In April the process for approving the award of contracts to supply the new buses, battery chargers and hydrogen refueller to the Preferred Tenderers was progressed. Contracts are expected to be awarded in May 2023.
- In March the process for approving the award of contracts to supply the new buses, battery chargers and hydrogen refueller to the Preferred Tenderers was progressed. Contracts are expected to be awarded in April 2023.
- The Development Application for installation of the Hydrogen Refuelling Station at Metro’s Mornington depot was lodged with Clarence City Council.
- In February the process for approving the award of contracts to supply the new buses, battery chargers and hydrogen refueller to the Preferred Tenderers was progressed. Contracts are expected to be awarded in March 2023.
- A new main electrical switchboard was ordered for the Launceston bus depot, replacing the very old existing switchboard, to ensure adequate power supply for the battery electric bus chargers. The new switchboard will be installed in May and a generator will maintain power to the depot during the changeover.
During January the Project Team have worked with Preferred Tenderers to agree on final supply contract terms and conditions.
Contracts for supply are expected to be awarded in March 2023.
During December the Preferred Tenderer’s for supply of the project goods and services, were identified.
Contracts for supply are expected to be awarded in March 2024.
The tender for up to three Battery Electric Buses and Battery Chargers closed on Monday 24 October; and the tenders for up to three Fuel Cell Electric Buses and the Hydrogen Refuelling Station closed on Monday 31 October.
Contracts for supply are expected to be awarded by the end of January 2024.
As part of the Request-for-Tender process, Tenderer’s conducted site inspections of the Metro locations where the Zero-Emission-Buses will be garaged, maintained, recharged and refuelled.
The schedule for the site inspections was:
- Tuesday 20th September – Launceston depot for the BEB Trial (Buses & Chargers) RFT
- Wednesday 21st September – Mornington yard for the FCEB Trial (HRS) RFT
- Wednesday 21st September – Springfield depot for the FCEB Trial (Buses) RFT
The closing date for tenders is 24 October (BEB Trial) and 31 October (FCEB Trial).
Expressions-of-interest for the supply of buses and charging/refueling equipment were completed in June, and potential suppliers were shortlisted for tender.
Three separate tenders will soon be called for the supply of:
- up to three battery-electric buses and battery chargers;
- up to three fuel-cell-electric buses; and
- a hydrogen refueling station