Heliox Fast Chargers Power New Zealand’s First 10 Electric Double-Deck Buses

May 23, 2018

Heliox will supply the fast-charging infrastructure for 10 electric double-deck buses to Tranzit operating in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington in July 2018. The e-buses operated by Tranzit are the first double-deck buses being charged via a roof-mounted pantograph. As New Zealand is making its first steps in electrifying its public transportation, Heliox is to supply 8 fast chargers.

This project is significant as it is the first fully electric bus fleet in New Zealand. Heliox, as the global market leader in fast-charging electric buses, is proud to provide the fast-charging network that combines both depot and opportunity charging to Tranzit and the city of Wellington. Heliox has delivered an innovative aspect to Tranzit’s charge network by combining the CCS plug-in system for the depot charging and a roof-mounted pantograph system in route to charge the double-decks. This project is a great example of the strength of open interfaces shown by the open-source OCPP back-office communication of all chargers in the network combining data of both the infrastructure and the EV bus fleet.

Wellington New Zealand Tranzit Heliox

To this day, Heliox has globally charged more than 350 electric buses and has proven experience and ability to deliver large-scale implementation in a short timeframe. In total, 8 chargers will be provided to this project, comprising of five DC 2x30kW Twin Chargers, two OC 450kW ultra-fast chargers, and one DC 25kW Mobile Charger with a plug-in option for ultimate flexibility in the workshop.

Heliox fast charging infrastructure will initially cover 9 bus routes across the Wellington region, which run between the suburbs of Island Bay and Churton Park. The 82-seat double-deckers will be fully charged overnight at the depot using the Heliox Fast DC 2x30kW twin chargers while topping up their batteries during the day using Heliox OC 450kW opportunity chargers at charging stations in route across the network. This type of fast charging ensures maximum availability as the charging takes place while passengers board and disembark the bus.

Heliox’s OC 450 kW charger can recharge a battery in 2-5 minutes. These chargers are compatible with the roof-mounted system, an interoperable and open interface. This reliable and robust system uses a pantograph mounted on the bus, including remote management that ensures high uptime throughout the operation. A key advantage of the Heliox Fast Charging system is that Heliox’s fast chargers are compatible with any other brand and models of electric buses that use opportunity charging. This also helps to further accelerate the uptake of additional electric buses in the future.

This project is one of the first steps of all-electric bus fleets in NZ and essentially using larger-capacity vehicles together with more efficient scheduling could enable 400 electric buses to do the work of the current fleet. Consequently, congestion will be reduced, especially in the city center that makes journey times faster and more reliable. Keven Snelgrove, Transport and Operations Director for Tranzit Group: “We’re excited to be the first users in the Southern Hemisphere of fast charge technology. Heliox has been a professional partner to date, their experience and proven robust charging infrastructure was a key factor in our decision-making process. The charging stations are very discreet and will be placed strategically on our routes for a greater range around Wellington. We’re delighted that Wellington is investigating into New Zealand’s first fully-electric bus fleet.”

The city of Wellington has emphasized the relevance of electrifying its bus fleet, which would comply with the latest Euro VI emission standards by mid-2018. Additionally, the city of Wellington has made a commitment that the first electric double-deckers will be joined by another 10 in 2020 and another 12 in 2021. Along with the new buses, the city will be able to apply a single ticketing system for travel that benefits the commuters with simplified travel fares on buses.

Bob Bouhuijs, director of Automotive at Heliox: “This project is a great example of how Heliox’s open technology supports bus operations with different suppliers all over the world.  We are excited to provide our chargers to the very first fully-electric double-decker buses in Wellington, New Zealand, and believe our robust and reliable solution that enables the usage of the roof-mounted system, will deliver maximum availability and increased uptime to the EV fleet. We are proud to partner with Tranzit and introduce the charging network for double-deck buses as the newest innovation in the market. “

Having implemented electric bus systems based on diverse interfaces in more than 17 countries and in extreme weather conditions, Heliox is pleased to contribute to more sustainable public transportation together with its partners.