It's been touted as the future for heavy transport. Residents of Auckland's eastern suburbs will be the first to experience New Zealand's foray into that future with the first hydrogen-powered bus operating along bus route 70 from Botany to Britomart, via Panmure.
The three-axle bus, AT's largest single-decker, can accommodate over 70 passengers. It was built in Christchurch by Global Bus Ventures at a cost of $1.175million and will be part of a two-year trial which starts this month to assess the relative operating costs compared to diesel and electric buses of a similar size.
With transport making up 40 per cent of Auckland's greenhouse gas emissions, Mayor Phil Goff is keen that all options are considered when planning for transport options.
"While our focus has been on electrification of vehicles and buses, it is important that we also explore the option of replacing diesel buses with hydrogen-powered vehicles. These produce zero-emissions and could complement our electric bus fleet," Goff said at the launch of the bus in Auckland last week.
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The bus will be refuelled with green hydrogen delivered to Ports of Auckland's temporary refuelling station and in the future will be done next to a new electrolyser plant producing green hydrogen yet to be built, according to Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson.
Auckland Transport says it is committing to the decarbonisation of the bus fleet.