For the first time, a Volgren-Volvo battery electric bus (BEB) is travelling the streets of Melbourne. The Optimus-BZL, operated by CDC Victoria as part of the Victorian Government’s Zero Emissions Bus Trial, is the first of eight BZLs that CDC Victoria will operate on routes 601 and 630 in the eastern suburbs.

Yuri Tessari, Volgren’s Chief Commercial Officer, said he was proud of the company’s longstanding relationship with ComfortDelGro Corporation Australia (CDC) and its subsidiary, CDC Victoria.

“We really value our partnership with both CDC and Volvo. Together we have delivered thousands of buses across Australia and we’re proud that the partnership now extends to battery electric buses, which will be crucial as Victoria and Australia progress towards zero emission targets.”

Tessari said much of the success of Volgren’s transition to BEBs can be directly traced to the 50 hybrids that Volgren delivered to CDC Victoria, the last of which was handed over in October.

“Building hybrids has been an essential learning curve for Volgren. Without that experience we wouldn’t be as advanced on building battery electric buses as we are today. It has helped with our process and factory review, training and safety procedures. This initial exposure to high-voltage systems has been enormously advantageous.

“It’s also given us a smooth path towards greater investment in the next generation of green jobs. We’re strengthening local manufacturing and supporting around 100 suppliers whose products and expertise allow us to build every bus body in Victoria.”

Volgren CEO, Thiago Deiro, said that he was pleased to see the Volvo-Volgren BEBs serving Victorian customers for the first time.

“Volgren has committed significant investment to research, development and staff training to manufacture battery electric buses in Australia and it’s a wonderful thing to see our partners coming together to make its Melbourne debut a success,” Mr Deiro said.

“We are committed to developing and delivering new technology locally, and we’re pleased that we now have the capability to build the Optimus-BZL in our three major factories, those in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

“Because that expertise now extends across the continent, we can build at scale and easily meet large orders. The bus is available to order and we look forward to providing it to operators across Australia.”