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Christchurch and Auckland prepare to roll-out electric bus fleets

Electrification of the country’s transport sector will further drive New Zealand’s decarbonisation efforts and support its aims to have a full zero emission bus fleet by 2040. 

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Christchurch and Auckland will begin operating the buses in 2021. Picture: JW Diesel
Christchurch and Auckland will begin operating the buses in 2021. Picture: JW Diesel

The cities of Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand are implementing e-bus charging infrastructure from Siemens Smart Infrastructure to power two Go Bus depots.

 

Go Bus is one of New Zealand’s largest bus operators and the system will power 25 electric buses in Christchurch and nine in Auckland, with the latter operating on a new electric airport link. The operations are scheduled to start early in 2021.

 

Renewable electricity generation

 

New Zealand already boasts more than 80 per cent renewable electricity generation. Electrification of the transport sector, representing 36 per cent of energy use in New Zealand, will further drive this decarbonisation and the country’s aims to have a full zero emission bus fleet by 2040.


“As a national bus operator, Go Bus needs to be agile and adapt to many fast-moving changes when transitioning to electric bus transport,” said Calum Haslop, CEO of Go Bus. “It’s also important that any investments we make now, take into account rapid advances in battery technology and digitalisation. Siemens’ independent charging infrastructure and management software provides us with the most future-proof solutions and flexibility.”

 

Siemens claimed its Sicharge UC range grants bus operators optimal flexibility when planning electric bus depots by providing an infrastructure that is designed to be future proofed against rapid advances in battery technology. It also enables bus operators to economically expand charging infrastructure with up to five dispensers plus a pantograph per charging centre.

 

Jeff Connolly, CEO of Siemens Australia Pacific and head of Siemens’ Smart Infrastructure portfolio in the region, added: “It’s critical to have a long-term view of transport infrastructure – one that centres around the effective and efficient use of the right technology and seamless movement of people.”

 

The charging system in the Christchurch depot will consist of 12 Sicharge UC 200 charging centres with dispensers powering 25 parking spaces with up to 200 kilowatts (kW). In Auckland, there will be five of these systems as well as two Sicharge UC 100 stations with a charging power of up to 125 kW, supplying a total of nine e-buses.

“It’s critical to have a long-term view of transport infrastructure – one that centres around the effective and efficient use of the right technology and seamless movement of people”

Both solutions provide plug-in depot charging, meeting CCS standard, overnight or for top-up charging between scheduled bus services during the day. The Sicharge UC family supports battery voltages from 10 volt (V) up to 1,000V.

 

Current e-buses available in the New Zealand market average between 600- to 700V, but future bus batteries are expected to use higher voltages to enable faster charging. Additionally, the charging system uses open communication standards as open charge point protocol (OCPP) to interact with different back-end software, for example, for charging management.

 

According to Siemens, the reporting and monitoring function of its charging management software will enable Go Bus to centrally monitor all charging infrastructure across two cities and easily report on key metrics including electricity savings. Smart management functionality will also enable Go Bus to schedule charging to take advantage to lower overnight tariffs while ensuring that individual buses have reached the desired state of charge by the time they are needed for the next day’s operations.

 

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