By: Fabian Cotter

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND, bus operator Red Bus will introduce New Zealand’s first fully electric urban bus service early next year with three Alexander Dennis (ADL) Enviro200EV single-deck battery buses on order, as reported recently.

New Zealand operator Red Bus is introducing fully electric buses next year, like the one pictured (Pic: ADL UK)

The 12m long buses will be fully air-conditioned and will carry 60 passengers, according to ADL UK.

The electric buses, to be delivered by March 2019, will be used on direct route 29 between the city centre and Christchurch Airport, which carries over 200,000 passengers per year. Their ability to run all day on the airport service without recharging allows them to fully replace three existing diesel buses, it’s claimed.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe said: "Using electric buses on the airport service achieves four objectives simultaneously: an improvement of customer service through lower internal and external noise levels; the immediate and long-term reduction in local exhaust emissions; reduced carbon consumption for this service; and the opportunity to demonstrate the latest vehicle technology to our Christchurch residents."

"We are expecting immediate environmental and health benefits from these battery electric powered buses. The zero tailpipe emissions reduce our annual carbon footprint by 5 per cent, or 290 tonnes," he added.

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Red Bus is interested in the potential for wider use of electric buses and will be testing the new buses on other routes – including those into Christchurch’s hill suburbs – once they have settled into service, the company confirms.

The introduction of the buses is supported with funding from the Christchurch Agency for Energy Trust and regional council Environment Canterbury.

The Enviro200EV combines Chinese bus maker BYD’s battery technology with ADL’s expertise in building lightweight, passenger-centric buses, it’s stated. It has been the United Kingdom’s best-selling electric bus since its introduction in 2016, with 180 in service or on order, it’s claimed. The three Enviro200EV for Christchurch follow on from two similar vehicles that have been returning very positive operational results in Auckland since their introduction earlier this year, the company says.

Tony Moore, ADL general manager New Zealand, said: "The Enviro200EV has a proven track record of delivering cleaner public transport, and together with our partner BYD we are delighted to bring this electric bus to Christchurch. We look forward to supporting the vehicles through ADL’s established aftermarket organisation in New Zealand to make sure they will quickly demonstrate the full potential of this exciting new technology."

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