New Zealand’s first hydrogen bus unveiled

The new hydrogen bus will hit east Auckland’s roads in April. Photo supplied

The hydrogen-powered bus that will soon be seen on east Auckland’s roads has been officially unveiled to the public.

Howick and Eastern Buses will operate the passenger vehicle, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, on route 70 from Botany to Britomart via Panmure from early April.

Transport Minister Michael Wood and mayor Phil Goff introduced the bus at an event held at the Ports of Auckland on March 30.

Auckland Transport (AT) commissioned the production of the bus, which cost $1.175 million, and will be refuelled with green hydrogen at the port.

It’s part of AT’s efforts to transition to an emissions-free fleet.

The bus was built by Global Bus Ventures in Christchurch and fits 43 seated adults and 31 standing adults.

It will be used initially in a two-year trial from east Auckland to the central city to see how its operating costs compare to diesel and electric buses of similar configurations.

Howick and Eastern Buses general manager Sheryll Otway says the company is excited to again partner with AT, following the launch of Auckland’s first electric three-axle ‘extra-large’ bus in October last year.

“In the early 1900s we launched the first motorised bus to complement our horse-drawn carriages and now many years later, in partnership with AT, we are again changing the way our passengers travel today and in the future. This is history in the making.”

AT metro decarbonisation manager Darek Koper says the organisation wants to prove to the market hydrogen buses can be developed to meet New Zealand’s unique operational and design requirements, and to help in the development of hydrogen as a fuel.

Wood says the Government is proud to work alongside AT to “help tackle climate change”.

“This is a significant milestone in the journey to decarbonise Auckland’s public transport fleet and it will be on the road in the coming days.”

Goff says he welcomes the bus’s trial.

“Decarbonisation of our public transport fleet is an important demonstration of Auckland Council taking the lead in reducing the city’s carbon emissions.

“In Auckland, transport makes up 40 per cent of the city’s overall carbon emissions.

“While our focus has been on electrification of vehicles and buses, it is important that we also explore the option of replacing diesel buses with hydrogen-powered vehicles.

“These produce zero emissions and could complement our electric bus fleet.”