Wellington buses the first to go electric

Wellington buses the first to go electric

Electric buses powered by a Kiwi invention may be on the streets of Wellington by the end of the year.

Bus company NZ Bus has signed a $30 million dollar deal with Wrightspeed in California which was founded by New Zealander Ian Wright.

Mr Wright was a co-founder of electric car maker Tesla before setting up his company to design and make electric powertrains for trucks and the technology is already in use in American rubbish trucks and delivery vehicles.

Zane Fulljames, chief excecutive of NZ Bus, said with nearly 82 percent of New Zealand's electricity from renewable energy sources, transition to electric-powered public transport alongside private vehicles will deliver a step change in reducing the country's carbon footprint.

"In the near term, the technology will enable us to repower our trolley buses, to enable them to be used anywhere in New Zealand."

The Wellington trolley buses are currently powered from overhead electric lines and were due to be scrapped by June 2017.

After the trolley buses have been fitted out, NZ Bus is looking to retrofit other vehicles in its 1200 strong fleet.

"I don't think I will ever buy another diesel bus," says Mr Fulljames.

NZ BUS says the first Wrightspeed powertrains will arrive in the middle of this year, with the first electric-powered bus on the road in the last quarter of this year.