Aucklanders are about to see a dozen electric buses whizzing about the CBD as part of the city's commitment to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

The 12-strong fleet will replace the current diesel-powered CityLINK buses by the end of the year, a move equivalent to taking 300 cars off the road in reducing emissions.

The agreement between Auckland Transport and its operator NZ Bus is part of the Low Emission Bus Roadmap, that has committed the city to have all new buses electric from 2025, and the whole 1360-strong fleet fully electric by 2040.

Mayor Phil Goff said along with reducing emissions, the move would help improve air quality by reducing pollution from black carbon and nitrogen oxide emitted by the current diesel vehicles.

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"Black carbon is associated with health problems and has been found in Queen Street at levels higher than in some major European and US cities, so it's a priority for us to address this issue.

"The introduction of these new fully electric buses is also a step toward electrifying the rest of Auckland's bus fleet, which when completed will stop around 93,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere every year."

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Auckland has trialled several electric buses in the city over the past two years, and six are due to arrive later this year to partially replace its diesel fleet.

Goff said they were committed to ensuring all new buses purchased from 2025 would be electric, and this could be brought even faster with central government support.

"With an incentive scheme from central government similar to their feebate to include electric cars, we could bring forward the transition to a fully electric bus fleet, which would be a significant indicator of our commitment to a carbon-free city."

Barry Hinkley, of NZ Bus, and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, with AT chair Adrienne Young-Cooper and chief executive Shane Ellison. Photo / Supplied
Barry Hinkley, of NZ Bus, and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, with AT chair Adrienne Young-Cooper and chief executive Shane Ellison. Photo / Supplied

Environment and climate change committee chair councillor Richard Hills said moving towards a fully electric bus fleet was critical to meet emissions reduction targets.

"Climate change is the most urgent challenge facing Auckland and the world. This announcement is a small but crucial step forward as we lead Auckland's response to climate change."

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AT and NZ Bus trialled an electric bus on the CityLINK route in 2018

The CityLINK buses carry more than 1.6 million customers each year, linking the city centre with Wynyard Quarter.

The buses would be built by Zhejiang CRRC Electric Vehicle Co Ltd (China Rail).

Tauranga introduced five electric buses into its fleet at the end of last year, and Wellington has 10 electric double-decker buses operating.