Tranzurban’s electric bus fleet is already covering plenty of ground and providing a more sustainable environment for Wellington locals
Wellington bus operator Tranzurban is marking a significant milestone on World EV Day with its electric bus fleet in the capital city.
Tranzurban’s fleet of double deck electric buses (EVDDs) has travelled three million kilometres – saving approximately 1.8 million litres of diesel and about 4,900 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere. This is equivalent to around 1300 cars not being driven for a year.
Tranzurban Wellington general manager Samuel Stairmand says since introducing the first Kiwi built EVDDs into Wellington in 2018 in partnership with Metlink, the fleet has grown to 42. It includes the company’s Generation II EVDDs, which have a higher spec than the original tranche of 10 buses, as well as the “Repower Bus” that was converted from a diesel bus to 100 per cent electric in parent company Tranzit Group’s Masterton workshop in 2021.
“When we began delivering public transport services in Wellington, we made twin promises to build a modern and reliable electric bus fleet and help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution for Wellingtonians,” he says.
“The emissions reductions we’ve achieved through our EV fleet have improved air quality along Wellington’s Golden Mile. A study released last year by Greater Wellington shows air pollution in the CBD has trended down as kilometres travelled by electric buses have increased, mitigating climate change and enhancing public health.”
Complimenting Tranzurban’s electric bus fleet has been the company’s significant investment in charging infrastructure. This includes:
– Two super-fast 450 kW chargers, one located in Island Bay and the other at the bus interchange in Thorndon, which can charge EVDDs from 20 per cent to 100 per cent in 12 minutes,
– Chargers with a total output of 1080kW installed at Tranzurban’s Grenada depot, north of Wellington. Here, Tranzit worked with electricity providers, lines companies and major stakeholders to create an innovative laneway design – the first of its kind in New Zealand. This allows for future growth as 48 EV buses can be charged simultaneously.
– A 1MW substation installed at Tranzurban’s Rongotai depot, with a 300kW upgrade.
These facilities, along with Tranzit’s chargers in Manawatu and Auckland, are believed to form the largest set of privately owned charging infrastructure in New Zealand. Parts of this were made possible by the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority’s Low-Vehicle Emissions Contestable Fund. Much of this funding was matched dollar for dollar by Tranzit to complete projects for its electric bus programme.
Stairmand says the company has worked hard over the past few years to bring complex and innovative projects to Wellington with support from key stakeholders in the energy sector, including lines companies to secure enough capacity to charge the fleet and to future proof the business.
He says passengers also benefit from the electric buses.
“We get a lot of positive comments from our passengers saying how much they enjoy travelling on our electric buses as they are quiet and smooth,” he says.
Greater Wellington Transport Committee Chair Thomas Nash says Tranzurban is helping the regional council’s public transport wing meet its decarbonisation objectives.
“Metlink is aiming for all core bus services to be electric as we work towards having an emissions-free fleet. These goals require our bus operators to share the council’s vision of public transport use being climate action for the people of our region,” Nash says.
“On World EV Day I’m proud to note, our operators have a combined total of 94 fully electric buses making up 21 per cent of the Metlink fleet. We expect at least nine more to arrive this year giving us all cleaner air, quieter streets and more climate friendly ways to get around our region.”