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  1. Paul Bruce, 4. January 2016, 15:24

    Five new trolley buses have arrived for Seattle’s bus upgrade. Support Wellington Green Councilors’ rescue plan. [via Twitter]

  2. syrahnose, 5. January 2016, 8:15

    The Seattle upgrade is an interesting article. Of course, Seattle at 3.6 million people (more millionaires than any city on earth) is a very affluent city with a dynamic economy. Even then the upgrade of their transit system indicates “The federal government is covering $138 million of the $186 million price.” Auckland is a village by comparison.

    Read deeper there and it’s clear their new experimental battery operated buses, if they work properly, would take 5 years to complete 200 orders from California. Which given Wellington’s poverty and end of the line position globally, makes the 10-year figure for Wellington uptake of electrics reasonable. Presumably, Seattle’s cost for the upgrade to all electric battery buses is way beyond the current 186 mill figure.

    Comparing Wellington to Seattle is peanuts to macadamias.

    Presumably, WCC is saving money buying diesels now so it can afford to own battery buses in future. Seems like a prudent move vs pie in the sky opinions here.

  3. Cr Paul Bruce, 8. January 2016, 18:18

    Yes, there are still some limitations with battery buses relating to the compromise between battery weight and distance between charges.

    Beijing and Shanghai – both have resumed purchase of new trolleybuses after poor experience with opportunity-charging of battery buses. According to International Association of Public Transport 2015, the trolleybus is still the most reliable and most common electric on-road urban public transit vehicle in the world. And results of a study in Osnabrück (Germany) show that the implementation of a trolleybus system is the fastest way to reduce CO2 emissions in the city – better than the use of the most recent diesel bus technology (euro 6).

    Our Green Councillor rescue plan is to continue trolley operation for another 10 to 15 years, while plans are made for light rail along the spine. Battery or trolley buses can then be run on the connector routes.

    Trolleybuses operate in over 310 cities worldwide (56 countries); there are more than 40 000 trolleybuses in operation. 45 trolleybus systems have emerged worldwide since 1990, 27 of which are in Europe. Currently, cities such as Leeds (United Kingdom), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Malatya (Turkey), Verona (Italy) and Montreal (Canada) are either introducing a trolleybus system or are studying the feasibility of its implementation. 

    Wellington’s trolley performance could be improved with lithium ion batteries, and with the introduction of the even higher capacity bendy trolley buses. However, the study done by an experienced engineer indicates that the network is in relatively good shape and the existing trolleys with new low floor chassis are good for another 15 years.

    Light rail is the real answer for our narrow dense corridors, but our 60 trolleys are already the ideal higher capacity short term answer.

  4. Curtis Nixon, 8. January 2016, 21:05

    Pie in the sky syrahnose? Pie on the ground more like. In case you haven’t been outside lately, Wellington has a beautifully operating trolley bus fleet. In fact there is an upgrade of the power lines going on along Crawford Rd at present which is bizarre considering the Regional Council wants to can the trolleys.
    Thanks Paul Bruce for your and Sue Kedgley’s support for them. Save the trolleys!

  5. Paula Warren, 12. January 2016, 17:25

    Our transport planning is being skewed by two unhelpful influences – NZTA’s unwillingness to treat all modes equitably and build a sustainable, multi-modal network; and the way accounting policies affect capital, operating, cost distribution and long term costs.

    It’s clearly not a lack of transport money. For example the cost difference between the already consented Western Link 1 road and the NZTA Pekapeka motorway was around $400m. That would probably have paid for light rail fixed infrastructure to the airport. It would certainly have paid to double track Paekakariki to Muri and solve the main capacity problem on the North Island main trunk line for freight, as well as the main timetabling limitation for passenger rail on the Kapiti Line (priced at around $280m when the feasibility study was done). But the latter project tis apparently so unaffordable that GW won’t even put it in their rail plan.

    Rail vehicles cost more than buses, but last far longer. Similarly, electric buses last longer than diesels, but cost more up front.

    I have been consistently disappointed in the apparent inability of GW to do the figures properly, and present a sensible case for an effective, efficient, sustainable transport network. Auckland Transport has shown that if you produce a decent plan, it is possible to get it funded. Wellington agencies seem to just manipulate everything to fit with NZTA’s biases.