Hello and welcome to your daily Charge Smart blog! Today, we will be talking about trials that are going on in Auckland to see if electric buses work here.
Above: We may soon see the end of these diesel buses
If you’re an Aucklander like myself then you’ll know that every time a bus accelerates in front of you or leaves the bus stop, it leaves a massive cloud of black smoke behind. I particularly don’t enjoy giving my lungs a taste of that and neither should you.
Auckland’s bus fleet currently consists of 1360 of these smoke belching vehicles. However, change is just one step closer as AT and Vector have just announced a memorandum of understanding or MoU to explore the results of fully implementing EV buses.
The two companies are set to carry out a feasibility study to record the impacts of a fully electric bus fleet for the major New Zealand city. The investigation is looking into innovative energy tech that could make the transition a bit easier and avoid the large costs needed to upgrade the infrastructure.
The MoU comes as another step from AT to realize their Low Emission Bus roadmap which was drawn up last year. The main goal behind that was for AT to only purchase new EV buses from the year 2025 and for the city’s whole bus fleet to be electric by 2040. The city’s mayor said that electrifying the bus fleet will put a stop to 70,000 tonnes of C02 entering the atmosphere every year. The move will also address the black carbon pollution which is particularly bad in the city centre. Not feeling so good about inhaling those fumes now, are you? If you thought their targets were optimistic, then you’ll be surprised to know that the mayor plans to bring those forward if AT can get access to a government supported public transport incentive scheme. Similar to a rebate for electric cars but on a larger scale.
Above: The new EV buses
Vehicle emissions make up over 40% of Auckland’s CO2 emissions and electrifying the bus fleet not only reduced that number but will encourage more people to use public transport, says the mayor. Hmm, not sure about that one because electrifying the trains didn’t really urge people to ditch their cars. Anyway, we will see how that goes.
AT currently operate three electric buses, all of which circle around Waiheke island and six more EV buses are about to be added sometime this year. This comes in addition to plans to purchase even more EV buses next year. The purpose of the study is to find out how AT can speed up the adoption of EV buses across the city to bring their targets even closer. Vector’s role in this is to tell AT what kind of charging infrastructure they need in place to complete this transition. The two companies will try to complete this transition to EVs at a minimal cost to the consumer, yeah right.
Two reports have been commissioned. One which will look at a particular bus route and then use that to gauge how much electricity, the city will require to keep up with this new electric fleet. The second report will address the infrastructure changes needed to make the changeover to EVs. These include changes to bus depots and timing changes along with the costs of course.
Fun fact: Buses make up 87% of the nation’s carbon emissions from public transport, yea I didn’t think that was too much fun either. This project is just one of many that are being planned to help New Zealand achieve their zero carbon emissions goal by 2050.