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Electric buses waiting for new fast charger pick-up

Many of you will be aware of Wellington’s new fleet of ten double decker electric buses – the first such buses in the Southern Hemisphere …. designed and built in New Zealand.

Photo: RNZ / Emma Hatton

Paul Eagle MP and I went down to Reef Street, Island Bay, yesterday to talk with Paul Snelgrove and James Howard from Tranzurban about these buses.

These buses are a trial fleet – this means that they are being evaluated and tweaked, to pave the way for a further order of double decker electrics

A charging station has been operational at Reef Street for some months. However, its use has been limited by the need to redesign the pick-up from the charger.

The new pick-up, designed and built in Wellington, will be mounted on the back of the double deckers. This replaces the need for a pantograph pick-up on the roof – which was in danger of being taken out by trees and overhead lines.

As the new pick-ups are fitted the buses will move to full-day operation – first to last bus, seven days a week.

The fast charger takes 4-8 minutes to charge a bus to 98% battery charge….so not for use with your cellphones!

I have started pushing for the next tranches of double decker electrics (22 more in total) to be brought forward.

Negotiations are continuing with NZ Bus on the conversion of the trolley buses.

-Report by Daran Ponter / Facebook