September 29, 2020

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Auckland, New Zealand Explores Full Implementation of Electric Bus Fleet

Auckland Electric Bus Fleet

Auckland, New Zealand’s 1360-strong bus fleet is one step closer to becoming fully electrified after Auckland Transport (AT) and Vector announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the impacts of full implementation.

About the Initiative

As reported, a feasibility study will be carried out to assess the impact of a fully electric bus fleet on the Auckland electricity network.

It will also identify opportunities where innovative energy technologies could be used to assist the transition and help avoid large network upgrade costs.

AT currently operates three electric buses, and is supporting the electrification of the bus fleet on Waiheke Island.

Meanwhile, six electric buses are due to arrive this year, and more new services being negotiated to start from 2021.

AT’s Bus Services Manager Darek Koper explained that a faster transition to electric buses requires a detailed assessment of the future demand on the electricity network.

The study will also help to understand what investment is needed in the electricity network to support the full transition to a zero-emissions bus fleet.

The collaboration will enable proactive planning of a way forward that will support the electrification of Auckland’s bus fleet.

It will also help discover innovative ways for new energy technologies and solutions to get the job done without placing unnecessary cost burdens on customers.

Two reports will be produced as part of the MoU and are expected to be delivered by June 2020.

The first report will explore a route and service profile, which will model the electricity demand that a fully electrified bus fleet will require.

The second report will provide guidance on the electricity network infrastructure upgrades required at each bus depot, as well as likely timings and costs.

Background

The MoU is a direct response to AT’s Low Emission Bus Roadmap, which was published last year.

The roadmap outlined its commitment to have all new buses in Auckland being electric from 2025, with the whole fleet fully electric by 2040.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says electrifying Auckland’s bus fleet will be an important part of the city’s response to climate change.

Electrifying the bus fleet would stop around 70,000 tonnes of C02 from entering the atmosphere every year and address the problem of pollution from black carbon, which is at high levels in areas such as the city centre.

Vector is already involved with several initiatives supporting the electrification of the transport sector. These are:

  1. Residential electric vehicle (EV) smart charging and vehicle-to-home trials (using EVs to power homes)
  2. Charging infrastructure projects in collaboration with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)
  3. Maintains 29 public EV chargers across the city

Buses make up 87% of the carbon emissions produced from public transport, so converting them from diesel to electric will also be a significant step towards meeting New Zealand’s 2050 zero-carbon emissions goal.

Eco-Friendly Transport

Nations across the globe are turning to electric transportation in response to the need for a more efficient and environment-friendly mode of travel.

In the Philippines, for instance, the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have officially launched two projects aimed at providing eco-friendly transportation systems to the state university’s sprawling campus.

The first project, which is called “Intelligent Electric Transportation Network” (IntElect), is a fleet of electric tricycles.

A major part of the IntElect project, moreover, is a ride-sharing and guidance system. The system will compute the optimal locations of charging stations in the area.

The second initiative is the “UP Bike Share” program. This is said to be a fourth-generation bike-sharing system, which is monitored via a wireless tracking sensor.

The bikes are equipped with a security feature, which automatically locks if the bikes are taken out of the UP Diliman campus.

Meanwhile, The Indian state Tamil Nadu launched its first electric, air-conditioned bus in Chennai. It is the first of 525 buses that the state government plans to deploy, to reduce air pollution.

The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric (FAME) vehicles scheme provides incentives to create demand and encourage the establishment of an electronic vehicle ecosystem and infrastructure.