New Zealand’s Government around Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared a climate emergency vowing to introduce measures accordingly such as the electrification of transport, first in the governmental fleet. Australia is also looking at electrification.
Prime Minister Ardern said this was a “declaration based on science” when announcing the climate emergency earlier this week in the House. “We must act with urgency,” she told MPs in New Zealand, before challenging them to be on the “right side of history”.
The Government will require all its agencies and ministries to buy electric vehicles only, operating towards the goal to make the entire public sector carbon neutral within the next five years. The Government currently has nearly 16,000 vehicles in the fleet, according to local media.
New Zealand’s electrification also includes public transport as the country wants to decarbonise entirely by 2035, at the latest. Bus fleet operators have begun to follow suit. New Zealand manufacturer Kiwi Bus Builders recently assumed assembly of ADL electric buses, which had until now taken place overseas. The first buses have arrived on Waiheke Island which belongs to Auckland.
Another large order just got in this week, this time from Wellington. The Greater Wellington Regional Council on Thursday declared it would not consider bids from any bus company running diesel vehicles when the current contracts expire in 2027. The announcement came one day after the central Government declared said climate emergency. It is also more ambitious than previous schedules to decarbonise and would mean a total of 665 electric buses running across New Zealand’s capital region in seven years. A recent order through service provider Metlink will see 98 new e-buses arrive in Wellington between mid-2021 and early 2023.
Over to Australia
We also see similar initiatives in Australia. New South Wales Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, has fast-forwarded the transition of the state’s bus fleet to electric to 2030. The NSW Government owns 8,000 buses.
Today I announced the NSW Government’s plan to transition the state’s fleet of 8,000 buses to zero emission technology by 2030.
— Andrew Constance MP (@AndrewConstance) December 1, 2020
However, NWS is far behind electrification. Reaching the target will require a replacement rate of 1,000 buses a year from 2022. Constance too mentioned climate change as the reason for the challenge, starting in the state’s capital Sydney.
The city’s public transport operator Transit Systems has ordered the first 31 units of 50 electric buses scheduled to come to Sydney. Nexport BYD and Gemilang Australia signed as suppliers with deliveries expected to start in spring 2021. In the current order, the Volgren bus is being assembled in Victoria using a chassis made by Nexport BYD overseas. So Gemilang delivers the body with the technology coming from BYD, a tactic the Chinese manufacturer also uses with ADL in Britain and Kiwi Bus Builders as mentioned above.
At the same time, in Australia, manufacturing is still in Chinese hands with more orders already in the books from a range of manufacturers, including BCI, Yutong, Nexport BYD Gemilang and Nexport BYD Volgren. However, NSW’s Deputy Secretary of Greater Sydney Elizabeth Mildwater said local manufacturers such as Bustech and Custom Buses would be considered for further orders. Mildwater also noted that both of those manufacturers buses are still in testing and that Nexport is considering opening a local plant as reported.
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