Electric buses coming to Christchurch


Red Bus will introduce Christchurch’s first fully electric urban bus service early next year.

Red Bus has signed a deal to purchase three electric buses as part of its commitment to gradually introducing new innovative technology across Christchurch public transport services.

The new buses, which will be delivered by March 2019, will be used on the direct service route 29, between the CBD and Christchurch Airport, which carries more than 200,000 passengers annually.

Red Bus chief executive Paul McNoe says this route between the city centre and the airport is ideal for the fully-battery electric-powered ADL/BYD buses that will be permanent replacements for three diesel buses to expose this cutting-edge technology and commitment to sustainability to Christchurch visitors and residents.

“Based on current use of a similar electric bus design in Sydney, Canberra, London and China, we’ll be able to use them all day on the airport service without needing a recharge,” said McNoe.

Improving service for passengers and residents 

“We are expecting immediate environmental and health benefits from these battery electric powered buses.  The zero tailpipe emissions reduces our annual carbon footprint by 5% or 290 tonnes with reduced noise levels inside and outside the buses.  The reduced noise levels improve the service for passengers and residents alike.”

The introduction of the buses also supports the Government’s commitment to reach its 2050 emissions reduction target.  Red Bus is committed to using renewable energy sources and assisting with New Zealand’s contribution to climate change.

Red Bus is interested in the potential for wider use of electric buses and will be testing the new buses on other routes - including Christchurch’s hill suburbs - once they have settled into service.

The ADL/BYD electric bus has been developed through a joint venture between BYD Auto in China and Alexander Dennis Limited in the UK.

The Christchurch Agency for Energy Trust (CAfE), a charitable trust established by the Christchurch City Council to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives, has contributed core support funding for this project, along with funding support from Environment Canterbury.

Looking into the future

Environment Canterbury senior manager public transport Stewart Gibbon, says Environment Canterbury is excited to be part of the introduction and use of electric bus technology in Christchurch.

“Improving the environmental footprint of the public transport system is a key focus of ours, and our transport partners.  This service will provide us with significant insights and learnings to help shape how we leverage this technology to evolve the public transport service for Greater Christchurch and Canterbury.”