New Zealand’s Waiheke Island now has Auckland’s first dedicated fleet of electric buses, with six entering service under a new contract between Auckland Transport (AT) and operator Fullers360.
The other two electric buses will join the fleet in December and come from Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) that herewith also renews its partnership with New Zealand manufacturer Kiwi Bus Builders. The latter will now assume assembly of ADL electric buses, which for the New Zealand market had until now taken place overseas.
The electric buses now arriving on Waiheke each carry 37 passengers and service the existing AT Waiheke Island route. The buses can travel up to 400km on a single charge and will be charged and stored at the Waiheke depot.
In addition to two-axle models like those for Waiheke Island, ADL and Kiwi Bus Builders will produce three-axle electric buses. ADL says they designed these for bus operation in New Zealand by carrying 78 passengers without the requirement of an overweight permit, a first for the country.
Waiheke Island that is among New Zealand’s most densely populated Isles and part of Auckland Council also intends to electrify the entire 17-strong fleet once the older models reach their end of life.
At the same time, local news site Stuff/Launch reports there to be “a gap between AT’s ambition and the level of funding currently available from the council.” The mayor Phil Goff told the site, he hoped to bring the end of new diesel bus procurement by AT forward by four years, to 2021.
AT already believes it can afford to procure only electric buses, the launch continues, but that they would need new funding from 2023 as the rate of replacement ramps up.
Under AT’s existing plans, the six Waiheke Island buses will be followed by 12 on the City Link route, in the New Year, and nine on the Airporter run early in 2021, as reported.
New Zealand, as a whole, wants to decarbonise transport by 2035. Richard Drummond, Managing Director of Kiwi Bus Builders, drew a direct line to said commitment when saying: “With investment in updated build techniques, we will be able to scale up our production to meet demand from Auckland and elsewhere in New Zealand as the fleet transformation gets underway ahead of the 2035 zero emissions target.”
ADL’s electric buses for New Zealand are part of the BYD ADL Enviro200EV range that is also in use around Britain and Europe. The e-buses use BYD’s latest iron phosphate battery, and driveline technology, which ADL says has demonstrated its reliability and efficiency in over 60,000 zero-emission buses worldwide.
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