One solar-powered bus is not enough

Issue 

Adelaide City Council's zero-emissions solar electric bus, Tindo, which is the Kaurna Aboriginal word for sun, is a great example of what sustainable public transport looks like.

Adelaide City Council's zero-emissions solar electric bus, Tindo, which is the Kaurna Aboriginal word for sun, is a great example of what sustainable public transport looks like.

The bus uses solar energy converted through photovoltaic panels mounted on top of the new central bus station. According to the council's website, the bus is carbon neutral, and is recharged from almost 77,000 kilowatt hours of zero carbon emissions electricity each year.

Tindo is a neat piece of work: it has seating for 42 passengers, with 25 standard seats, two seats for disabled passengers and standing room for 15. Tindo can travel 200 kilometers between recharges, and accelerates and climbs hills at the same speed as a diesel-powered bus. But the bus's electric-powered drive line makes it silent and free of toxic fumes.

Tindo has all the latest technology including 11 Swiss-made high energy and storage batteries and an excellent vehicle management system, which logs all faults and warning conditions relating to the drive system.

The only thing wrong with Tindo is that there's only one and it currently only operates in the inner city.

The recent budget allocated $2 billion to the state's antiquated public transport system over the next 10 years. There was no mention of more solar-powered buses or any renewable energy-driven public transport.

Any government serious about the climate change crisis would be investing in renewable energy-powered transport. If we're to get more than the occasional token show of how good things could be we'll need to step up the political pressure on those protecting the profit-first system.

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