Adelaide creates world's first solar-powered public transport system | RenewEconomy

Adelaide creates world’s first solar-powered public transport system

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Adelaide’s Tindo electric bus public transport service is the world’s first to be powered 100 per cent by solar energy – and it’s free!

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Ecolocalizer via CleanTechnica

Many local communities are looking at ways that they can incorporate green technology into their city’s municipal infrastructure. One impressive success story is the Tindo electric bus in Adelaide. Although many cities have experimented with using hybrid or electric technology in their public transport systems, this vehicle is the world’s first 100% solar-powered electric bus; and not only is it powered by the sun, but this service is also offered free of charge.

tindobusNamed after an Aboriginal word for “sun”, the Tindo was designed to be part of the Adelaide Connector Bus service, a free service run by the City Council. What makes the bus unique from other solar-powered vehicles is that there aren’t any solar panels physically on the vehicle. Instead, the car received electric power from solar panels located on the city’s central bus station.

These provide enough energy to allow the bus to run freely from the city centre and the North Adelaide, and will also offer air conditioning and WiFi to its 40 passengers.

The Council commissioned this bus from a New Zealand company called Designline International, as part of a wider green initiative.

Adelaide residents have shown a keen interest in reducing emissions, with many seeking out hybrid cars like the MitsMirubishi age, or choosing to go electric, while many residents already choose to carpool or bicycle on their commute as well. In the City Council’s Strategy Plan for 2012-2016, further plans to make the streets more sustainable are outlined. This includes a more comprehensive network of footpaths and bike trails to enable commuters to get around without a car.

The latest figures from 2010 showed that 36% of the city’s carbon emissions came from transportation. Although residents are turning to hybrids like new Ssangyong cars and the ever-popular Prius to reduce personal emissions, the city’s public transportation network has helped further reduce emissions. The Tindo has no combustion engine, which makes it a zero emissions vehicle. Its regenerative braking system also saves an additional 30% of energy consumption. In its first year alone it’s estimated that the solar-powered bus saved over 70,000 kg of carbon emissions and 14,000 litres of diesel.

Due to its unique solar photovoltaic charging system and ability to travel over 200 kilometres between recharges, this vehicle has received a great deal of attention from the wider green community. It’s been featured in the Solar City Convention Spirit Festival, Global Green Challenge, and Heritage Bus Tour. Although solar busses can be found in Austria, China, Wales, and India, they have yet to become a widespread public transport solution. Of these various solar busses, the Tindo is still the only one which is completely powered by the sun.

The Tindo’s success shows that public transportation can be further improved to reduce a community’s carbon emissions while improving the residents’ way of life at the same time. Its adoption has helped make Adelaide one of Australia’s most green-friendly cities, an attitude mirrored by its residents.

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  1. Karlos Silva 7 years ago

    Although we installed this back in 2008 it’s still good to hear about its positive impacts. Well done Adelaide City Council for its progressive outlook.

  2. Terry J Wall 7 years ago

    How could you not be happy about that 🙂 Now every other city will be in catch up mode. Congratulations Adelaide and DesignLine!!!

  3. Meredith Kalisz 7 years ago

    Wow city to Nth Adelaide with air con! What, 3.5 km! Turn the air con off, open the windows and it will probably get you to Elizabeth (and back).

    • Ronald Brakels 7 years ago

      On the one in a billion chance that you actually care, I’ll mention that the bus’s range is about 200 kilometers on a full charge.

      • Meredith Kalisz 6 years ago

        I do actually care. I live off grid, I was just being mean and sceptical. It just seemed like such a waste to air con (living off grid I know how precious air con is) when the same power could get you further. Its great you can do 200km, lets hope that maybe the powers that be encourage this hahhaahahahahahah just reading about Abbott’s new wind enquiry (for the nth time), Maintain the rage and have a Villi’s for me.

  4. Seth Wolf 7 years ago

    TYPO: The name of the car is the Mitsubishi Mirage, not the MitsMirubishi age.

  5. Miles Harding 7 years ago

    Well done, Adelaide!
    Your challenge is to have more than one and to make those buses locally.

    We are seeing that the federal government is useless and not part of the solution. I live in unenlightened WA, where they are possibly dumber than the federal COALition, although that is a tall order!

    I feel that the issues of the near future will have to be solved at the local level. This means you, me and our local government are going to have to do provide the solution through action. This involves all of us becoming activists and helping to steer a sustainable course.

  6. Thor-Rune Hansen 7 years ago

    If it’s 100% solar power, how does it run on a rainy day?

    • Bob Burgess 7 years ago

      Solar panels still generate electricity on a rainy day (though not as much) as they generate some of their power from UV, which penetrates clouds.

      Also, given the panels are mounted on the station and not the bus, I’d imagine the station has sufficient batteries to store a few days of charge for the bus.

      After that, they could just plug the bus into the mains power 😉

    • Avera Morte 7 years ago

      Same way you get sunburn on those days

  7. yvo84 7 years ago

    Well done Adelaide!

  8. Jason Bensen 7 years ago

    I’m from Adelaide..
    We’ve had these busses for years but they only service one route. The rest if our bus system is absolutely abysmal.

  9. Bob Burgess 7 years ago

    It’s a nice idea, but how much surface area of solar panels does one bus require? If the central station can only fit enough solar panels on it to run a handful of busses and the rest run on diesel, then it’s clearly not a complete solution.

    • Vic 7 years ago

      “…clearly not a complete solution.”

      There’s no silver bullet against global warming but there’s a million and one lead bullets we can fire at it. This Tindo bus appears to be one of them.

  10. Dani cimorreli 6 years ago

    Wow maybe they can get those in California?

  11. Keninoz_1 5 years ago

    Great initiative.

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