Wellington’s trolley buses are set to jump their wires and could soon head anywhere in the country.
The iconic buses have been thrown a lifeline with their owner, NZ Bus, signing a $43 million deal that will see “a significant number” of its 1100 buses in Auckland and Wellington converted to electric.
The capital’s 60 trolley buses were set to be removed from service in mid-2017 when NZ Bus’ current contract with Greater Wellington Regional Council expires, but this deal means they will live on.
NZ Bus chief executive Zane Fulljames refused to say exactly how many buses would be refitted with electric drivetrains in the deal with American firm Wrightspeed, but said it would be significant number.
Great -a decision made by the company, with no (apparent) subsidies.
The Wrightspeed motors will be fitted into existing buses and will operate mostly on rechargeable electric batteries, topped up by a small conventionally-powered motor if needed on the road.
As battery technology improves, the top ups will no longer be needed and the buses will travel entirely on electric power, Fulljames said.
As battery technology improves, this is what will really impact take up.
New Zealander Ian Wright co-founded Tesla then founded his own company Wrightspeed in the US.
Nice to see a NZer do well globally.