Electric bus project for Ripley Valley
IPSWICH is on the cusp of introducing revolutionary electric buses to the city after a productive visit by Mayor Paul Pisasale to Japan.
Global giant Toshiba has spent millions of dollars in research and development on electric buses and Cr Pisasale rode a prototype bus in Tokyo.
The battery-operated bus has a charge unit and the progressive charge levels of the bus are monitored from a central computer to ensure it never runs too low.
Cr Pisasale said Toshiba "wants to take its innovative and sustainable Japanese technology to the world".
In partnership with the Japanese Government and leading house and community developer Sekisui House, the aim is to introduce the buses initially to Sekisui's Ripley Valley development.
Cr Pisasale met with officials from Toshiba, Japan's Ministry of the Environment and Government, Austrade and Sekisui House CEO Isami Wada to discuss the innovative plan to make Ipswich a pilot site for Australia.
He said an official from Toshiba would visit Ipswich in December to hold more talks about bringing the plan to fruition.
"Toshiba and the Japanese Government have invested millions in developing the electric bus," Cr Pisasale said.
"Ipswich is also fortunate to be linked with Sekisui House, whose whole philosophy is based on sustainability. They are keen to make sure their public transport is second to none in Ripley Valley.
"One of the conditions of the development application was they have to provide public transport.
"The State Government won't fund it until the volumes are up so Sekisui House is looking to subsidise it from the first house.
"They want Ipswich to be the first city in Australia to operate on electric buses."
Cr Pisasale envisaged the first buses would link Ripley Valley with rail transport hubs in Springfield and the Ipswich CBD.
"The range of the bus at the moment is 52 kilometres and it takes five minutes to charge," he said.
"The batteries they use in the bus are re-useable and when they get to a certain stage in their life they place them in another unit that can power buildings, which we can do in Australia.
During his visit Cr Pisasale inspected the light rail system operating in Kyoto.
He said he had plans to see the driverless system utilised in Ipswich to "connect all our growth centres together and link people to the transport hubs".
Cr Pisasale envisaged light rail servicing Springfield, Ripley, the CBD, USQ, Brassall and industry hubs at Bundamba, Redbank and Carole Park.