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Auckland Transport and NZ Bus have recently unveiled the first fully electric bus depot in New Zealand. 

Located in Panmure, the depot will house 35 electric buses that can be charged up overnight using their own individual direct current charger. 

These 35 units are a part of the total order of 152 e-buses agreed upon by AT and NZ Bus in November 2021. 

 Collaboration and NZ’s Zero-Carbon Future 

 According to AT, this is a significant step in the Low Emission Bus Roadmap to decarbonise Auckland’s public transport. 

“It aligns with the government’s 2035 mandate for the full decarbonisation of urban buses in New Zealand,” says AT Interim Chief Executive Mark Lambert. 

“These buses are the first tranche of electric buses, with more coming over the next two years. It’s been exciting to witness the transition to electric buses recently and we know our customers are enjoying the cleaner, quieter travel. This new technology manages when and how much each bus is charged – which is very important for load management on the Vector network and of course using off-peak energy prices,” Mr. Lambert adds. 

Meanwhile, NZ Bus CEO Calum Haslop highlighted the collaborative effort that the resulted in this launch. 

“Today’s unveiling of this all-electric depot has been the result of NZ Bus, Auckland Transport, Vector, CRRC, EVISI, DGE, and WSP all working together. What we are now operating is a cutting-edge approach to the efficient supply of battery electric zero-emission buses for Auckland. Kinetic is proud to have built and be operating this depot – Australasia’s largest all-electric bus operation,” says Mr. Haslop. 

 Smart Charging is Key  

On the other hand, Vector’s Chief Operating Officer of Electricity, Gas, and Fibre, Peter Ryan says that the smart charging system implemented in the depot uis crucial to ensuring an affordable transition to a zero-carbon future. 

“By managing the timing of the e-bus charging, we can ensure the buses are ready for service each day, while keeping the cost of electrification down,” says Mr. Ryan. 

According to a press release, Vector’s Distributed Energy Resource Management System manages e-bus charging during off-peak hours to avoid increasing peak demand on the local electricity network. 

Currently, there are 155 e-buses throughout New Zealand, 58 of which operates in Auckland. By the end of 2023, 100 e-buses are expected to run in the city with plants to increase the fleet to 175 within the next couple of years. 

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