News | 19 May 2016

Capital says electric buses are key to low carbon aspirations

Transforming Wellington’s public transport fleet to electric vehicles is an essential part of reducing Wellington’s carbon emissions and meeting our commitment to be a Low Carbon Capital, say Wellington City Councillors.

The Wellington City Council has recently consulted on its draft Low Carbon Capital plan to address climate change in parallel to its Annual Plan 2016-17 consultation. One of the plan’s three pillars is ‘Changing the way we move’, which will make affordable and sustainable transport choices available to Wellington residents.

Speaking after the Transport and Urban Development Committee today, where the Mayor had invited NZ Bus to present on its electric bus plan, Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the Council fully supports a move to electric buses.

“Transport accounts for 56 percent of emissions in Wellington City so it is essential that our public transport fleet moves from diesel to electric vehicles with haste,” she said.

“This Council has consistently said that Wellington’s bus fleet, including trolleys and diesels, should move to a completely electric fleet. We are pleased that the Greater Wellington Regional Council is aiming to have the first electric bus fleet in New Zealand.

“We support innovative ideas to help reduce emissions, and we support electric vehicles for all powered modes of transport. The example we heard this morning shows the technology is available and we will continue to advocate to GWRC for a fully electric fleet, whether it’s this technology or not.”

The Greater Wellington Regional Council, which manages public transport in Wellington City and throughout the region, is currently tendering for bus services and expects to award contracts at the end of this year.

Councillor Andy Foster, Chair of the Transport and Urban Development Committee, says a high-quality, diverse transport system is key to Wellington’s economic, environmental and social aspirations, as well as meeting our climate change targets.

“Having a high-quality public transport system is essential for reducing dependency on private motor vehicles, and electric buses must be part of a future modern, high-quality public transport system,” says Cr Foster.

“We know our public has a strong preference for electric buses over diesels, especially in constrained urban areas.

“Alongside further investment in public transport, cycling and walking, our Low Carbon Capital plan will encourage electric vehicle uptake for private vehicles too, and we’ll work with key stakeholders to progress the rollout of an integrated fast-charging network across the city,” he said.