Network based systems

AN NZ PIONEERING OPERATOR EXTENDS THE E-BUS CHARGING NETWORK

Through: Fabien Cotter, Photograph by: courtesy of Groupe Tranzit


NEW ZEALAND family transport and bus entity Tranzit Group now has the largest private network of electric bus chargers in New Zealand – to power its growing fleet of electric buses – the company recently reported.

(LR): Keven Snelgrove, director of transport and operations of the Tranzit group and Daryn Murphy, director of the national fleet of the Tranzit group, stand at the base of the company’s future 1 MW substation in its depot of Granada, which will join its growing network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the North Island. Ultimately, the Tranzit depot in Granada will be able to charge up to 40 electric buses. Credit: Tranzit Group.

With a long reputation as a pioneer of the national Kiwi bus industry, Tranzit’s Director of Operations and Transportation Keven Snelgrove said the installation this week of a new 1080 kW charger in his Grenada depot, north of the city of Wellington, brings the company’s total load network to 2,820 kW. – enough to supply 3,400 homes, or approximately the town of Foxton (the population was 3,330 in June 2021).

“Since we started exploring electric bus technology in 2014, and then made a commitment to electrify public transport – to help New Zealand meet its decarbonization goals and deliver a truly smooth and quiet drive to our passengers – we’ve worked hard to ensure we have the infrastructure to charge our growing fleet of electric buses, ”said Snelgrove.

“From January 2022, we will have a capacity of up to 2,820 kW, which means that we will be able to recharge the 20 electric buses that we currently have in service in Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington, as well as sustain our business for the next installment of double-decker electric buses. buses that we are gradually adding to Wellington, to be part of the Metlink network. “

Andrew, Gareth Daryn and Repower at Henley Lake By Katie Farman September 2021x.jpg

Above: Andrew Gray, Gareth Price and Daryn Murphy of Tranzit with the Repower Bus, during tests around Masterton. Initially in the southern hemisphere, the trio succeeded in converting this diesel double-decker city bus to a 100% electric bus and it now carries passengers in the city of Wellington.

LARGE NETWORK REPAIR

To enable electrification in Wellington, Tranzit has built a network of chargers across the region, he says. This includes the country’s two fastest chargers – a 450 kW charger located on Reef Street in

Island Bay and the soon-to-be-completed 450 kW charger at the Wellington interchange in Thorndon, he confirms.

At these locations, Tranzit’s double-decker electric buses can be charged from 20 percent to fully charged in 12 minutes, he says.

In addition, a total of 1080 kW is currently installed at the Tranzit depot in Granada, north of Wellington. Tranzit also has a 1 megawatt substation installed at its Rongotai depot in the southeast, with a 300 kW upgrade slated for early 2022.

In addition, there is a 120 kW charger operational at its Palmerston North depot and a 25 kW portable charger at its new Taupo depot, says Tranzit.

In Auckland, a single pricing system is used, providing greater reach and flexibility of e-buses.

“In Auckland, we can charge our single-decker electric bus, which was the first we introduced in New Zealand through the contestable EECA low-emission vehicle fund and our partnership with AUT, on a special charger. . This can charge buses with two different type outlets eliminating the need for two chargers, as most chargers can only accommodate one type of outlet, ”explained Snelgrove.

Keven Snelgrove and Daryn Murphy from Tranzit at the Granada depot on December 17th by Katie Farmanx.jpg

LOAD CHOICE

In order for Tranzit to accommodate its growing fleet of electric buses, it has worked closely with regional councils and regional electricity providers to secure power to its charging network. At the same time, the company has invested in building the skills of many of its workshop team who have made the switch from working on diesel buses to electric buses, Tranzit said.

So far, four of Tranzit’s diesel mechanics have obtained their MITO New Zealand certificate in automotive engineering for electric vehicles (level 5) and there are plans to strengthen the team’s skills in 2022, the company confirms.

Tranzit uses the recharging infrastructure of Heliox, based in the Netherlands, which offers a slow or fast charger. Slow chargers take 3-4 hours to charge an electric double-decker bus to full capacity.

These can be done overnight, with the benefit of using a cheaper overnight cost and lower impact on the power grid, according to the company.

Conversely, Tranzit’s fast chargers take between eight and 12 minutes to charge an electric double-decker bus to full capacity. Once charged, Tranzit’s double-decker electric buses can run between 4 and 6 hours, or travel up to 130 km per charge, for as little as NZD $ 35 per charge (excluding charger cost), says Tranzit. .

Karl Gates and Charger at Palmy.jpg

Above: Tranzit Coachlines Manawatu electric bus driver Karl Gates with charger at company depot in Palmerston North.

THINKING AHEAD

Snelgrove says the family business is proud of its pioneering history and has no plans to stop.

“My brother Paul and I are the third generation caretakers of our family business and decided that for the fourth and fifth generation to take the lead, we need to look at sustainable technologies and renewable energy,” he said. he declares.

“But looking back, we have always been pioneers,” he added.

“In 1970 we started to retrofit our old gasoline V8 flatbed fleet with more efficient diesels, then in 1980 Tranzit continued this program using the more modern and fuel efficient Isuzu 6BD1 diesel engine.

“In 1990 we then started to re-equip our old pre-standard Euro engines with Euro 3 and 4 engines before placing an order for 20 Euro 4 touring coaches in 2010 – the ‘top of the range’ at the time – which were used for the Rugby World Cup 2011 and brought great pride to our company and our team.

“After we started exploring electric bus technology in 2014, things have continued to accelerate and we have gone from the introduction of the first electric bus in New Zealand in 2015 to this year 20 electric buses on the road.

“In addition, initially in the southern hemisphere, we succeeded in converting a double-decker diesel bus into a 100% electric bus,” he explained.

Reef St Charger in use.jpg

Above: One of Tranzit’s double-decker electric buses is charged by the Reef St. NB rapid charger – Tranzit engineers moved the pantograph to the back of the bus, after the original design placed it on top.

LOCAL MANUFACTURING

Tranzit also sets itself apart, he says, by helping to develop the capacity of New Zealand’s electric buses, working with Kiwi bus builders in Tauranga to assemble the buses using parts made in New Zealand. Zealand, as well as world coins imported from China and Europe.

“The product quality is exceptional and we are committed to supporting the development and retention of New Zealand’s manufacturing workforce by bringing in local builders. Snelgrove confirmed.

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ABOUT TRANZIT

Tranzit Group is an award winning family owned transport and tourism company operating in Aotearoa, New Zealand. With its headquarters still in Wairarapa, in the south-eastern part of the North Island, Tranzit will celebrate its centenary in 2024.

Employing around 2,000 team members and operating 2,000 vehicles nationwide, Tranzit contributes significantly to the economy, he says.

In many parts of New Zealand, Tranzit provides contract school bus services from the Department of Education, as well as contract school trips for individual schools, he confirms.

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