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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

New public transport trials

Solar-powered bus

Credit: adelaidecitycouncil.com

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It's been a little while since we did the car-free once-a-week challenge, and the good news is that there's some new options if you're living in Melbourne or Adelaide.

Melbourne started a trial of hybrid-powered buses in late June. They've got 2 buses using an electric battery to supplement the diesel engine. The state government will be testing their impact on air pollution, fuel savings and customer satisfaction. If you'd like a little more detail on the two types of hybrids being used, check out the Hybrid Mile blog.

In Adelaide, they've gone one better and started using a solar-powered bus! Totally emissions free, it's powered by photovoltaic panels that connect to the mainstream electricity grid, and has a regenerative braking system just like a hybrid car -no combustion engine here. Called the Tindo (the Kaurna Aboriginal word for 'sun'), it's a New Zealand design and runs much more quietly than a standard diesel bus. For more info, check out the PDF available from the Adelaide City Council's Tindo Solar Bus page.

I really think something like these hybrids and electric vehicles are the future of public transport. If you've had a ride on any of these, please leave a comment, because I'd love to know how they compare, and if they're nice and comfy.

In the meanwhile, I've been looking at the bikes in my local bike shop. I'm seriously considering trying to ride to work, in spite of generally being a bit clumsy and very unfit. The guy at the bike shop also had electric bikes which are very appealing to a lazybones like me. Have you had a go on one of these? Are they worth the extra cost, or are they just there for the coolness factor?