Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Electric bus to fire up Dunedin fleet

An electric bus will join the Orbus Dunedin fleet for October to test the feasibility of an electric fleet on the Dunedin public transport network.

From 28 September, keep your eyes peeled for a GBV Enviroline 35-seater e-bus zipping around the streets and hills of Dunedin on select routes.

The electric bus trial, a collaboration between the Otago Regional Council (ORC) and Go Bus Transport, is likely to rotate around select routes, including the #8 (St Clair to Normanby), #44 (St Kilda to Halfway Bush), #55 (St Kilda to Brockville), and the #77 (Mosgiel to City).

Otago Regional Council (ORC) Manager Transport, Garry Maloney said the trial was an exciting chance to see an electric bus take on Dunedin’s hills.

“We’re really looking forward to giving an e-bus a run around a few Dunedin routes and seeing how it performs,” he said.

“ORC has committed through the Regional Public Transport Plan 2021-31 to decarbonising our public transport fleet. One of our current objectives on that path is to investigate opportunities to move to low emission vehicles, or alternative fuels and technologies, for contracted services.”

The purpose of the trial was to understand how electric buses would work on the Dunedin network, Mr Maloney said.

“The four routes that are planned for the trial will take the e-bus around a good variety of terrains and travel durations. The aim is to get a sense of how an e-bus can handle the different hills, routes, and the motorway in Dunedin, and how we might need to factor charging time into route planning.”

Go Bus Transport CEO, Calum Haslop said Go Bus were proud to support the e-bus trial.

“We’re very pleased to be able to supply the GBV Enviroline for the month and give Dunedin passengers a chance to experience the smoother, quieter electric future of public transport,” he said.

“I know there are a few drivers who are keen to get behind the wheel, and I’m sure passengers will share their excitement once the trial kicks off in a week’s time.

“Go Bus already has nine electric buses in operation on services in Auckland and seven in Christchurch, with a further 18 arriving in Christchurch before the end of the year. We spent many years researching and looking at EV deployments worldwide, and are well on our way towards a zero emission and sustainable future.”

A regionwide greenhouse gas emissions profile prepared for ORC earlier this year found that transport was a major contributor to Otago’s total emissions in 2019. In Dunedin, transport contributed 30% of total emissions that year, second only to agriculture.

Council says the electric bus trial is in keeping with Regional Public Transport Plan 2021-31 (RPTP) objectives to investigate opportunities to move to low emission vehicles, or alternative fuels and technologies, for contracted services.

“This electric bus trial will bring Orbus a step closer to reducing Otago’s transport emissions and making the bus an even more environmentally-friendly mode of transport,” Mr Maloney said.

Central government policy requires all fossil-fuelled buses to be replaced by 2035, with no new fossil-fuelled buses to be introduced from 2025.

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