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Trolleys to return as a battery fleet

A fleet of 50 old Wellington trolley buses will be converted to pure battery electric buses by NZ Bus as part of the latest round of subsidies from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, in its efforts to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles.

The converted trolley buses will be charged at the Karori depot (above) and Kilbirnie.

NZ Bus, which is owned by Infratil, will install charging infrastructure at the bus depots in Karori and Kilbirnie to service the converted fleet, which is expected to be on the road from January 2019.

The government grant of $763,000 enabling this is the largest subsidy from an EECA spend of $3.87 million.

The depots will utilise night-time charging to deliver lower emissions, while avoiding peak electricity prices and distribution network congestion.

The NZ bus initiative was one of 19 diverse co-funded projects announced today by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods today under the fourth round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.

“Part of the focus on this round is to demonstrate light and heavy electric vehicles in sectors of the economy where the technology is relatively unproven,” she said.

Other projects in the Wellington region also received funding.

They include $245,000 for a partnership between electricity lines company Electra Ltd, Horowhenua and Kapiti Coast District Councils, and ChargeNet NZ Ltd to install nine fast chargers in five towns through the Kapiti and Horowhenua regions.

Food rescue charity Kaibosh will receive $69,999 to replace its old trucks with two new electric vans, for daily food rescue and redistribution runs in Wellington and Lower Hutt. Kaibosh’s sustainability focus means they will share their experience to practically showcase electric vehicles being used for everyday logistics.

Countdown Supermarkets will receive $387,500 to begin delivering online orders in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch using five fully electric temperature controlled distribution trucks. The project will cut down noise around their online delivery depots, and eliminate around 135,000 kg of CO2 emissions annually.

The fund was set up by the National-led government in 2016 to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

To date a total of $13.97 million in government funding has been proved, said Woods, with over $23 million third party funding contributing to 24 projects from previous rounds.

“The fund is one of several initiatives in the Government’s Electric Vehicles Programme, which aims to double the number of EVs every year to reach 64,000 by the end of 2021,” she said.

Woods announced that round five of the LEVCF will open on 15 August. She challenged applicants to explore the potential of vehicle-to-grid and smart charging technologies.

For more information about the fund, visit www.eeca.govt.nz/funding-and-support/low-emission-vehicles-contestable-fund/