NZ's first battery electric bus

AUT-Tranzit Electric Bus

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Learn more about the project

The 35 seater bus becomes part of AUT’s fleet, servicing the university’s North-City Campus and South-City Campus bus routes. As well as providing sustainable transport for hundreds of students every day, it will operate as a mobile research tool providing vital data to understand the economics and performance of electric buses on New Zealand roads.

The chassis and batteries were imported from China (chassis from China Rail and batteries from Microvast). The rest of the bus was constructed in Tauranga by Kiwi Bus Builders. 

The bus is a direct replacement for a 35-seat diesel bus and operates on the same schedule as would an equivalent diesel bus, travelling 50,000km a year on average. This removes the use of 15,500 litres of diesel per year. Tranzit has selected an energy retailer with strong environmental credentials to make the most of New Zealand’s renewable electricity generation.

The project demonstrates that fully battery-powered buses are commercially viable in New Zealand. 

As it was largely designed in New Zealand, the IP from the build and design remain here, helping local engineers develop EV technology for more buses. 

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. A large number of passengers report the quiet ride makes them feel more relaxed and calm at the end of their journey. Drivers prefer the electric bus to diesels due to improved performance, handling and low noise levels.

Tranzit, in association with AUT, was approved for $369,250 of co-funding in round one of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund. 

Insights from this project

  • It is crucial to gain a strong understanding of all aspects of bus charging. This is by far the most time consuming and challenging element of this type of project. Sourcing, buying and building the bus is relatively easy. 

Find out more New Zealand’s first electric bus hits the road - AUT website  

aut ev bus launch