Infratil's NZ Bus unit has inked a US$30 million deal with US-based Wrightspeed to enable it to transition its buses to electric technology.
The technology would allow Infratil to repower its trolley buses enabling them to be used anywhere in New Zealand, and expand the use of the technology to other vehicles in its fleet, the Wellington-based company said in a statement.
Wrightspeed's technology is already used in waste management and delivery vehicles in the US and the deal with Infratil marks the company's first entry into passenger transport.
The California-based company was founded by New Zealand-born Ian Wright and manufactures range-extended electric vehicle powertrains.
Watch a Wrightspeed-produced video showing its technology here:
NZ Bus will receive its first Wrightspeed powertrains by mid-2016 and after fitting and testing, it expects to have the first electric-powered bus on the road by the last quarter of this year.
Infratil executive and NZ Bus chair Kevin Baker said an electric public transport fleet would enable New Zealand to transition to a clean energy public transport system and play a significant role in decarbonisation and reducing noise pollution in New Zealand cities.
The company's bus division generated earnings of $22.7 million in the six months ended September 30 on revenue of almost $119 million, up slightly from a year earlier. It has a national fleet of 1,070 buses.
Infratil shares last traded at $3.24, and have declined 1.1 percent this year.