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New tech. hits CBD streets – battery-powered buses

New technology hits CBD streets – battery-powered buses!
26 May 2003

Auckland Regional Council, Heart of the City, Auckland City Council and
Stagecoach launched a break-through for public transport in Auckland this morning, with the arrival of 3 battery-powered buses on the City Circuit service.

A first for Auckland, the new hybrid-electric vehicles are each powered by batteries and charged by a gas turbine. Whilst still utilising diesel fuel to ‘top up’ the batteries, the hybrid-electric (HEV) buses are more environmentally friendly than their diesel-only counterparts, incredibly quiet and also provide a much smoother ride for passengers.

ARC Passenger Transport Chairwoman, Catherine Harland, says the HEV buses are a welcome addition to an already-successful service.

“Today’s launch signifies another step forward in our commitment to give Aucklanders the public transport that they have demanded. Cleaner air for Aucklanders is an absolute priority for this Council and many Aucklanders, and the introduction of hybrid-electric vehicles is a move in the right direction for public transport.

“City Circuit has proven a high-demand service since its launch in September last year. The bright red City Circuit buses are now going to be even more of a stand-out on CBD roads, with the sleek look of the new battery-boosted vehicles representing not only the latest in motor technology, but also in world-class bus design.”

The microturbine engine in the HEV buses achieves significantly low levels of emissions with none of the post-combustion pollution controls, catalysts or particulate traps used by many other engines. The turbine serves as an onboard generator to replenish the vehicle’s batteries, enabling the buses to operate for a full service day without recharging.

Inner City retailers and apartment dwellers may also be excused for failing to notice the new buses this morning, with the sound of the accelerating HEV buses likened to that of a well-tuned motorcar.

Heart of the City CEO, Alex Swney, says that environmentally friendly buses are the ‘cherry on the top’ for a service that was long overdue.

“Many Aucklanders have long lamented the demise of the old Farmers free bus, so it’s great to see how successful City Circuit has been in it’s first months of performance. City Circuit links the waterfront with the fashion and entertainment precincts and the universities and in doing so it also connects the many existing bus linkages into the city. And it’s being done with a modern environmental and economic twist – it’s electric and it’s free!

City Circuit operates every 10 minutes, from 8am to 6pm, every day. The successful service is hailed as the best way to get from A-to-B in the central city area.


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