Fuel cell and battery-electric buses for Auckland
As Auckland Transport continues to accelerate the Low Emissions Bus Roadmap, the public transport provider has ordered two ‘extra-large’ electric buses from Chinese giants Yutong and six BYD electric buses, as well as the city’s first fuel cell bus that will – also a first – be made in New Zealand.
First off, to the New Zealand foray into hydrogen fuel cell technology: Auckland Transport will trial hydrogen fuel cell buses in partnership with bus operators and Ports of Auckland, who are building a hydrogen production and refuelling facility at their Waitematā port.
Made in New Zealand: The first bus will be built in New Zealand by Global Bus Ventures (GBV), located in Christchurch on the South Island of the Antipodean country. It will be 13.5m long with three-axles and provide capacity for up to 78 passengers.
GBV Executive Vice President Mike Parker says GBV is excited about the opportunity to support Auckland’s transition to a low emission fleet. “AT’s decision to select GBV for the first hydrogen bus project is an important step in growing high tech bus manufacturing in New Zealand.” The bus is expected to start trials from September 2020.
On the purely battery-electric front, two kinds of battery-electric buses have been ordered from two Chinese companies: two extra-large electric buses, specially designed for New Zealand from Yutong in partnership with JW Group; and six battery-electric buses from BYD in partnership with Alexander Dennis. The Yutong buses will be the first ‘extra-large’ electric buses used in Auckland and can carry up to 78 passengers. The buses are expected to arrive in the middle of next year. Arriving at the same time are also the first six electric buses for Waiheke Island (in the Auckland bay) from Alexander Dennis & BYD.
Wei Zhou, Director of JW Group says “Yutong and JW Group are pleased to continue working closely with Auckland Transport to introduce low emission urban buses in Auckland providing extra-large full EV Bus.” For the past year, a large EV bus has been on loan from Yutong to test the vehicle and requirements for Auckland and its bus operators. He explained that “On one trial, the bus ran from the Airport to Warkworth. The round trip was 184km, with the bus using 41% of its battery capacity and average power use of 84/kWh for every 100km travelled. The results built operational confidence in electric bus fleets.”
Auckland Transport plans to only procure low emission buses from 2025 and have a full low emission fleet by 2040.