First provincial fully electric bus to be in Palmerston North

Thanks to funding from round four of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Low Emissions Vehicles Contestable Fund, a fully electric bus will soon be servicing high density bus routes in Palmerston North.

Horizons Regional Council transport manager Phil Hindrup says following a joint application to the fund, Tranzit Group has successfully secured funding to assist with the provision of a fully electric bus.

“We are absolutely delighted that we have been able to secure a brand new electric bus into Palmerston North’s fleet.

“The bus will service the Massey University campus routes, and has the potential to reach over one million passengers a year, allowing them to experience a future transport mode that is of a greater benefit to the environment.  

“The opportunity to provide electric buses in provincial areas shows that it’s not just the bigger cities which will benefit from greener, low emissions vehicles,” says Mr Hindrup.

The bus will operate for a full day on a single overnight charge and its operation in Palmerston North will give Tranzit Group and other bus owners and operators around the country a much higher degree of certainty when it comes to the additional costs of running electric buses directly equivalent to existing diesel models.

The opportunity to apply for the EECA Low Emissions Vehicles Contestable Fund was identified by Horizons earlier this year, who then partnered with Tranzit Group and Massey University to submit the application.
Massey University director – sustainability Dr Allanah Ryan says Massey was delighted to be a partner for the application, as they are keen to extend the use of active public transport.

“Not only will an electric bus have great appeal for many of our staff and students, but will also contribute to teaching and research initiatives that Massey has been offering for many years from the Centre for Energy Research. These include investigation the generation, storage and use, particularly for transport applications of renewable energy,” says Dr Ryan.

“The Palmerston North City Living Lab relationship between the PNCC and Massey University’s Resource and Environmental Planning Programme has a strong focus on sustainable transport, and it is likely that new research and engagement opportunities can be linked with the introduction of the e-bus.”
Horizons’ Regional Public Transport Plan (RPTP) 2025-25 sets the operational framework supporting the introduction of lower emission public transport vehicles. Submissions during the recent review of the RLTP also highlighted the community desire for the region to focus on adapting practices that reduce the environmental effects from the land transport system and move towards adopting new technology that reduces carbon emissions.

“One of the specific actions set in the RPTP is to investigate costs for zero emissions vehicles with a view to introduce zero emission buses on selected public transport units where a viable business case exists,” explains Mr Hindrup.

Tranzit Group managing director Paul Snelgrove says Tranzurban, Tranzit’s subsidiary company, launched an initial fleet of electric double-deckers in Wellington from mid-July earlier this year, which will be increased by 10 more in 2020, and another 12 in 2021.

 “Partnering with a university run will allow us to continue to learn and share technology insights. We are very grateful for the EECA funding which encourages innovation and investment in low emission vehicles, and we continue as a company to be fully committed to electric vehicles into the future.”

New Zealand’s first fully electric bus, EV1, commenced service in Auckland on 6 March 2018 and this bus was also partly funded by EECA in a joint Tranzit Group and AUT venture.

“We pleased our fleet is moving in a sustainable direction.  This has been highlighted recently as we, along with AUT, are joint developers of EV1 and have been announced as finalists in the Deloitte Energy Efficiency Awards which will see winners announced on 22 August,” says Mr Snelgrove.