Electric bus being trialled on Dunedin hills

An electric bus is being trialled on Dunedin's public transport network starting today.

The GBV Enviroline 35-seater electric bus is ultimately destined for Christchurch, but for the next month, it will be running up and down the hills of Dunedin.

The government has ordered all fossil-fuelled buses off the road by 2035.

Otago Regional Council councillor Alexa Forbes said she wanted to get more people on buses and ensure they were a cleaner option, and the e-bus trial was a start.

"I think it's 47 percent of our carbon emissions in Otago are as a result of transport, so that figure needs to come down and one of the greatest ways of bringing that figure down is getting people out of their private cars," she said.

GoBus Dunedin’s new electric bus. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
GoBus Dunedin’s new electric bus. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON

Ensuring the public transport fleet was running on sustainable and renewable sources would be another great contributor to reducing emissions, Forbes said.

Electric buses were already being used in Auckland and Christchurch, but Dunedin's hills presented another chance to show off their capability.

GBV executive vice president Mike Parker said the hills would be no problem for the Enviroline.

"I think people are going to be amazed how well it does perform," he said.

"Electric drive systems have a lot more torque than diesel buses, so when it comes to climbing up hills they're actually superior. And then you get all that regenerative energy braking coming back down again, so it makes it far more efficient."

The Enviroline was manufactured in Christchurch and actually charged itself when going downhill.

The e-buses also had an incredibly high range.

"It's going to do well over 300 kilometres [per charge in Dunedin], we suspect," Parker said.

"With the normal recharger it's about four hours to charge it up again and then it's ready for the next day."

Peter Dowden, who got to drive the Enviroline on its inaugural journey around Dunedin, said the lack of a combustion engine made it more pleasant for the driver.

"It's an absolute honey to drive - especially starting off, it's extremely smooth.

Trying Go Bus Dunedin’s new electric bus are (clockwise, from front) Otago Regional Councillor Alexa Forbes, GoBus chief operating officer Nigel Piper and Electric Bus executive vice president Mike Parker. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Trying Go Bus Dunedin’s new electric bus are (clockwise, from front) Otago Regional Councillor Alexa Forbes, GoBus chief operating officer Nigel Piper and Electric Bus executive vice president Mike Parker. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON

"Also the lack of vibration when you're waiting at a bus stop - it just removes that fatigue - and the clatter of the noise, which makes it harder to converse with the passengers."

 

It even had a bell to alert pedestrians - due to the lack of noise its motors produced - which reminded Dowden of his time driving trams in Australia 30 years ago.

 - by Tim Brown

Add a Comment

 

drivesouth-pow-generic-1.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter