UK electric vehicle fleet and battery storage specialist Zenobē has announced that it will make its entry into the New Zealand market, facilitated by investment from New Zealand Green Investment Finance (NZGIF).

The announcement will help bus operators in New Zealand rollout electric buses

NZGIF is providing a NZ$20 million (A$18.08 million) finance facility to support Zenobē with the deployment of electric bus (e-bus) fleets under long-term lease agreements with major operators in New Zealand.

A further NZ$30 million (A$27 million) is being held in reserve to support additional uptake, which NZGIF hopes sends a strong signal to the public transport sector that commercial, zero emission solutions will be more accessible.

The deal is designed to smooth the transition from diesel to electric buses for operators, removing technological and financing risk through competitive pricing.

NZGIF chief executive officer Craig Weise says he is pleased that NZGIF is enabling another first for the New Zealand market.

"This deal brings Zenobē’s expertise in fleet electrification and putting together bespoke funding structures to New Zealand," he said.

"The flexible rental contracts enable operators to take the time to understand the operational changes required as they transition to battery electric vehicles. This allows them to adapt and grow, minimising the usual level of risk.

"We are pleased with this deal for a number of reasons but particularly so as it is in the transport sector, which accounts for 21 per cent of New Zealand’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and is the fastest growing source of emissions."

The New Zealand government aims to decarbonise its bus fleets by 2035

New Zealand’s public transport bus fleet currently produces an estimated 155,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum and the government has a target to decarbonise the public bus fleet by 2035.

It is estimated that fewer than five per cent of the 2,600 public buses in operation in New Zealand are electric.

Zenobē offers end-to-end fleet electrification solutions, from planning and power procurement to vehicles, charging infrastructure and award-winning software.

It has a proven track record in the United Kingdom, holding around a 25 per cent share of the e-bus market and is delivering Australia’s largest electrified depot pilot. With circa 540 buses now contracted globally, Zenobē is taking its knowledge and experience to expand into New Zealand.

Zenobē co-founder and director Steven Meersman says that transport operators across the globe are realising the benefits of leasing batteries and outsourcing electrification to speed up and simplify delivery of zero emission transport.

"We’re delighted to be able to work with NZGIF to bring this e-bus rental facility to New Zealand as we continue to see a shift to more sustainable transport solutions at the foundation of achieving net zero," he said.

"Through our work with major clients such as National Express, Stagecoach and Transit Systems, we have established ourselves as a reliable industry partner in making battery and fleet electrification services a reality.

"With our experience, capabilities and award-winning software, we can lead our customers on the pathway to zero emission transport at a rapid pace, with complete solutions from infrastructure installation to financing and battery replacement. This means that operators can build a bespoke electrification solution based on their specific needs," Meersman said.

The first assets to be financed will be a fleet of 18 e-buses, leased to one of New Zealand’s largest bus operators Go Bus Transport Limited (Go Bus).

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