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Siemens to power first all-electric bus depot in Queensland


Keolis Downer has selected Siemens to deliver eBus charging stations to the North Lakes depot in Brisbane, which will be Queensland’s first all-electric bus depot. 

Operational from September 2022 and in service from February 2023, the depot will power 16 zero-emission buses serving more than 60,000 residents in the city’s northern suburbs.  

Keolis Downer will upgrade the North Lakes depot in partnership with the Department of Transport and Main Roads. The Queensland government has made a commitment that every new bus in South East Queensland will be zero emission from 2025. Regional implementation will begin between 2025 and 2030.  

Siemens will supply five Sicharge UC200 and 16 Sicharge UC Dispenser charging units capable of delivering a peak power output of 200kW. Siemens will also provide commissioning, spares, and preventative maintenance services for the depot, supporting the 100 per cent electric bus fleet designed and built in Queensland by Australian manufacturer, BusTech Group.  

“The flexibility of the Siemens Sicharge UC product family has enabled nations across the world to reap the benefits of electrified transport, with world-leading technology solutions providing local capability,” Siemens Australia Pacific chairman and CEO Jeff Connolly said. 

“Operators require flexible, robust and scalable solutions, and we are proud to see Keolis Downer choose Siemens’ technology to power Queensland’s largest eBus fleet. Transport fleets are one of the largest sources of emissions in Australia, and the decarbonisation of transport is an important part of meeting net-zero emissions targets. 

“As more bus networks move to embrace new full electric bus technology, electrical and charging infrastructure will need to scale to meet this demand and ensure the seamless movement of people through our increasingly connected cities.” 

Keolis Downer has also engaged Siemens to supply Sicharge UC e-charging equipment at the Hamilton depot in Newcastle, New South Wales, to support the first electric buses trialled by the operator in Australia. Regular services from the Hamilton depot are expected to commence by the February 2022.  

The Siemens Sicharge UC platform provides bus operators with optimal flexibility when planning electric bus depots, offering compact, sequential and ultra-high power charging options capable of producing up to 800 kW at 1,000 volts (V). This allows operators to benefit from the rapid advances being made in battery technology, with the option to scale-up economically by adding up to five dispensers plus a pantograph to each charging centre.  

Selecting Siemens has ensured that Keolis Downer can future-proof its eBus operations, according to Keolis Downer CEO David Franks. 

“With electric bus technology developing at a fast pace, bus operators require holistic charging and depot management solutions that we can rely on to grow alongside the technology it powers and market demand. 

“Siemens provides a world-class platform, enabling us to scale up quickly and meet the expectations of our passengers,” Franks said. 

The largest private operator of multi-modal public transit in Australia, Keolis Downer’s footprint extends into five states across heavy rail, light rail, tramways and buses. In Brisbane’s northern suburbs, it operates public and school bus services under the Hornibrook Bus Lines brand as a contractor to both TransLink and Brisbane Transport, with 1.7 million passenger journeys taken on its network each year.  

The announcement with Keolis Downer comes after Australian bus company Custom Denning selected the Sicharge UC product family to power its new “Element” eBuses in Australia.   

Siemens provides charging infrastructure designed specifically for electric bus depot applications, but also supply complementary technologies such as microgrid, grid connection and charging management solutions – all of which are increasingly becoming essential components of electric bus depots. 

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