History in the making with H & E’s first electric bus

Howick and Eastern Buses general manager Sheryll Otway (centre) with Auckland Transport manager bus services Darek Koper (second from right) and Howick Local Board members David Collings (left), Adele White and Bruce Kendall. Times photo Farida Master

It was a historic moment as the first, three-axle electric bus was launched at the Howick Historical Village.

The choice of venue was interesting as the fist motorized bus was introduced in Howick area over 100 years ago!

The one-of-its-kind, E13 three-axle, extra-large bus geared to reduce the carbon footprint, will be on loan to operator, Howick & Eastern (H&E) and will be used on its routes from east Auckland to central city.

At an event attended by Sheryll Otway, general manager H & E Buses; Wei Zhou, director JW Group that works in conjunction with Yutong (one of the largest bus manufacturers in the world); as well as Howick Local Board members Adele White, David Collings and Bruce Kendall, Auckland Transport’s manager of Bus Services, Darek Koper, said that Auckland Transport (AT) has launched its latest electric bus, as the next step towards reducing the city’s carbon emissions.

The Yutong E13 is Auckland’s first electric ‘extra-large’ bus, which can carry 78 passengers and is designed specifically to meet New Zealand standards, can run over 400km at a single charge.

“Trialling this bus on longer distance routes from east Auckland into the city centre will help us compare operational performance, power demand and costs alongside equivalent existing diesel buses and hydrogen fuel cell buses being manufactured for AT. This validates our case studies showing much lower impact from three-axle electric buses on road pavements, compared to standard e-buses.”

Sheryll Otway with Darek Koper at the launch of the first three-axle electric bus that AT will loan to operator Howick and Eastern buses. Times photo Farida Master

Otway said that they are excited about having the first electric bus in the area on a six-month trial basis.

“In 1906 we launched the first motorised bus to complement our horse-drawn carriages and now 114 years later, in partnership with Auckland Transport and JW Diesel, we are again changing the way our passengers travel. This is history in the making.”

“Electric buses are a game-changer and we’re excited to support Auckland Transport’s vision for a full zero-emission bus fleet by 2040. We can’t wait for our customers to get on board and experience the E13 for themselves and we look forward to the feedback of drivers and passengers.”

Jo Crickett from JW Group said it has been a challenging year navigating Covid restrictions and disruptions but is now thrilled that the first E13 three-axle bus creating history in Australasia.

Director JW Group Wei Zhou with Darek Koper. Photo supplied

Director of JW Group, Wei Zhou said that during 2018 and 2019, a large two-axle EV bus was trialled by AT in partnership with Yutong. “During this testing, operators in Auckland have shown real-world range exceeding 400km a day on a single charge. This builds operational confidence in electric bus fleets to manage the rigorous demands of public transport right now.”

JW Group is also bringing nine new electric buses for the AirportLink service, to be launched in January next year.


The E13’s 422kwh battery pack is equivalent to the power required to:

Charge 140,000 cell phones overnight

Power a family house for two weeks

Cook 10,000 two-minute noodle packs in the microwave.