Electric buses are viable for Wellington, says Celia Wade-Brown after test drive

bus electric

News from WCC
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has test-driven a new electric bus during her visit to China as leader of the Wellington business delegation. After the test-drive in the city of Tianjin, she said she wants Wellington’s public transport to be 100 per cent electric.

Mayor Wade-Brown met representatives from the BYD Company to investigate electric bus opportunities for Wellington City. Public Transport is a hot topic in the Capital with a proposal by the Regional Council to retire the trolley bus fleet and cable network, as part of a comprehensive review of the bus network.

Mayor Wade-Brown said the visit confirmed her view that fully electric buses are a viable form of transport for Wellington.

“Many Wellingtonians are committed to reducing transport emissions – both greenhouse gases and particulates.

“I’d like to see 100 percent of our public transport become electric,” she said. “The Regional Council’s timetable must be flexible enough so we can go forward with low emission, quiet buses on all our routes.

“Today’s meeting with BYD and my test-drive on an electric bus showed our delegation that this type of vehicle would be a viable, future for our bus fleet. The buses we saw could either be charged on their journey or have the batteries swapped in and out and charged at night. They meet European safety standards.”

BYD Company was established in 1995, and specialises in automobiles, new energy and IT. BYD is the largest supplier of rechargeable batteries in the world, and leads the field of electric vehicles with unique technologies. In January 2010 BYD’s pure electric bus K9 was successfully developed.

BYD now employs more than 150,000 employees and has 10 industrial parks throughout China. It also has offices in USA, Europe, Japan, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other regions.

BYD entered the auto industry in 2003 with the purchasing of Xi’an Tsinchuan Auto Co. BYD’s auto products and services include fuel and electric vehicles as well as auto moulding and auto parts manufacturing.



  1. Esjay, 30. May 2014, 20:24

    So the Mayor goes on a wing and prayer and becomes an expert at bus selection. Prior to any decision being made for public consultation to substantiate expenditure of ratepayers’ monies, it would be prudent for someone to explain in full technical detail how the batteries can be recharged at night. In particular how they can withstand the rigours of hours of discharge from ferrying passengers without the requirement of recharging until last thing at night?

  2. City Lad, 1. June 2014, 11:45

    Good to see Mayor Wade-Brown is exploring another option of public transport. Hopefully, the bus our Mayor is posing in does have passenger windows. But they’re not required at the moment because of advertising placed on them. Perhaps the manufacturer’s specifications could exclude windows. Seems logical to me.

  3. Strathmore Park, 3. June 2014, 16:19

    Interestingly, I understand that these particular buses would be viable in Wellington, provided there were no passengers on them. Apparently the buses themselves are already so heavy that empty they sit just on the safety limit.
    I guess Celia with her deep pockets could just buy everyone an electric bus to solve that problem.

  4. Wellington Commuter, 5. June 2014, 12:52

    Wikipedia says the two axle BDR Electric Bus has a curb weight (i.e. ready to go with no passengers) of 13,800Kg.

    However, the NZTA Guide for Heavy Vehicles says the maximum permitted load on a single axle for New Zealand is 6,000Kg (7,200Kg for large tire axles). This means the two axle heavy vehicles must weigh less than 12,000Kg unless they use large tires.

    So it would appear that Strathmore Park is correct and the BDR Electric Bus, for all its advantages, would not be permitted to be used on NZ roads. Also the BDR Bus is also listed as being 2.55m wide, but the maximum permitted width of NZ vehicles is only 2.50m :)


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