Auckland Transport and Fullers360 officially welcomed the first of Waiheke Island's new, fully electric bus fleet, with nearly a third of the buses taking to the Island's streets.
Six of the eight electric buses purchased by Fullers360 went into service by Waiheke Bus Company late October, making Waiheke Island the first area in Auckland to operate an electric bus fleet. The other two electric buses will join the fleet in December and the remaining nine buses in the 17-strong fleet will be replaced for electric as they reach their end of life.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who attended the launch event at Wild Estate on Waiheke Island, says it was great to see the first zero-emission electric buses on Waiheke enter service.
"This is a real milestone for Waiheke, and a big step forward in Auckland's plan to create a greener and more sustainable city," he says.
"Transport accounts for over 40 per cent of Auckland's overall carbon emissions. Working towards a low-emissions public transport network and providing alternatives to private vehicles is an essential part of reducing our impact on global warming and heading off a climate change disaster."
To commemorate the Island's first emissions free buses, Auckland Central MP Chloe Swarbrick had the honour of revealing the winners of Fullers360 and Auckland Transport's youth art competition, which called for local children and teens to illustrate a zero emissions future on the island. The competition received over 60 entries and the six winning artworks are now being displayed on the back of each of the new electric buses.
"Cutting carbon emissions is about creating a better future for our kids, so it's important that we involve them in producing a more sustainable world," Phil Goff says.
Shane Ellison, Chief Executive Officer of Auckland Transport, says this is a significant milestone for Waiheke Island.
"Auckland Transport was proud to join Fullers360 today to welcome in this new era of electric transport for Waiheke.
"We know that Waiheke residents share our goal of a greener future. At Auckland Transport, we recognise that how we get around day to day can have significant impacts on our environment and community. This is why we are working with our partners like Fullers360 to deliver safe, innovative and sustainable transport for Auckland. Sustainability is already at the core of our business. As part of the Low Emissions Roadmap, Auckland Transport plans to only procure low emission buses from 2025 and have a full low emission fleet by 2040," Mr Ellison says.
Fullers360 Chief Executive Officer Mike Horne says the delivery of electric buses to Waiheke Island is a tangible example of Fullers360's commitment to green transportation and its vision for a sustainable transport network for Auckland.
"Despite the impacts of COVID-19, Fullers360 remains steadfast in our ambition to grow a larger, more effective, and sustainable transport network. Our investment in the electric buses is part of our vision to operate an environmentally friendly transport service on and off the water.
"With the first six electric buses coming to Waiheke, we will see a reduction of approximately 538 tCO²e of Green House Gas emissions per year on Waiheke, which is equivalent to 718 typical New Zealand homes' electricity use for one year," says Mr Horne.
The electric buses each carry 37 passengers and service the existing Auckland Transport Waiheke Island route. The buses produce zero emissions and can travel up to 400km on a single charge. The buses will be charged and stored at the Waiheke bus depot.