Tourism goes electric in Far North Queensland

Tropic Wings staff in front of electric bus fleet in Far North Queensland
Image: Tropic Wings

In a first for Australia’s private tour and charter sector, electric buses are set to roll out in Far North Queensland thanks to a new project backed by ARENA.

ARENA is providing $4.75 million in funding from the Driving the Nation Fund to Cairns tour and charters operator Tropic Wings for its Sustainable Transport in Tourism Project.

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The project will support Tropic Wings to transition nearly a third of its fleet to electric with the delivery of 12 electric buses.

ARENA funding will contribute to the installation of 11 electric vehicle (EV) chargers, associated enabling infrastructure and two battery energy storage systems (BESS).

In collaboration with the Electric Vehicle Council, Tropic Wings will turn the lessons from the project into a blueprint for transitioning to battery electric vehicle (BEV) fleets for the tourism sector.

Small and medium operators face greater barriers in transitioning to BEVs compared to larger players. Higher upfront vehicle costs, limited existing electrical infrastructure and limited access to capital disincentivise small businesses from electrifying their fleets.

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Tropic Wings director Michael Woodward said, “We’re committed to sustainability in tourism. Tropic Wings is at the forefront, shifting a substantial part of its fleet to BEVs, reducing carbon footprint, and inspiring others in the industry to embrace electric vehicles for sustainable tourism.”

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