NZ Bus a double winner at NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2016

NZ Bus has won two awards at the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards held in Auckland last night – the EECA Business Energy Management Award and the Renewables Innovation Award. The awards recognise NZ Bus’ NZ$43m investment in Wrightspeed electric powertrain technology to begin transitioning its bus fleet to electric power and position it for the future.

Zane Fulljames, CEO of NZ Bus said that with a largely diesel-heavy fleet and electric vehicle technology developing rapidly, NZ Bus needed to act quickly to best meet the needs of future public transport users.

“Thinking beyond the prevailing assumption that diesel hybrids provide the best transitional technology towards fully electric vehicles, led to our decision to invest in Wrightspeed electric powertrain technology,” he said.

The Wrightspeed powertrain works by using electric motors (powered by batteries) to drive the wheels. The energy created by braking is converted to electricity, recharging the batteries on the go. When the batteries do run low, an on-board range extender (which could run on any fuel including biofuel, landfill gas and natural gas) kicks-in. Once battery technology improves, the range extender can be removed to create a fully electric vehicle. The Wrightspeed electric powertrain will be retrofitted to NZ Bus’ existing fleet, with the first buses expected to be on the road by early 2018.

The NZI Sustainable Business Network (SBN) Awards are New Zealand’s longest-standing sustainability awards. Now in their 14th year, they recognise businesses and individuals that are transforming New Zealand to a more sustainable nation.

The judges were impressed with the commitment NZ Bus has demonstrated to energy management: “NZ Bus has demonstrated leadership by significantly investing in clean technology to electrify its bus fleet – a first in New Zealand. This is not a step change, but rather they have leap frogged to a transformational shift!

“Powering their fleet of buses on a cutting-edge hybrid electric technology was a significant decision for this company. It enables the environment to benefit from New Zealand’s high shares of low-carbon renewable electricity from the national grid.”

EECA Business Auckland General Manager Greg Visser said NZ Bus was inspiring.

“NZ Bus is a great example of a business taking the lead on electric vehicles and it deserves this recognition. Businesses large and small are moving to electric vehicles and it’s inspirational that NZ Bus has taken this step for its fleet. NZ Bus is a company with a vision of the future and has taken practical steps to achieve that, with a plan to do even more,” said Mr Visser.

A list of winners and commendations for the 2016 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards is available on its website.

Sustainable Business Network