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City-News Archive

Wellington [NZ] - Old diesel buses replace Wellington's trolleys!

K. Budach - 25.09.17

The current operator NZ Bus of Wellington’s trolleybuses is bringing 41 older diesel buses in several tranches from Auckland to the capital city, in order to replace the existing fleet of full-electric trolleybuses by the end of October.

The initiative is being reflected in the international press and has been commented by numerous public transport experts, taking into account that it goes against the worldwide trend to increase the use of electric transport modes, especially those zero emission vehicles which do not produce any emissions at local level. The existing 50 km overhead network covers wider parts of the more densely populated areas of the city and could easily be used as the base for a wider use of battery-electric hybrid-trolleybuses. They make use of existing overhead networks: Hybrid-trolleybuses allow substantial off-wire operation on lengthy stretches of bus routes which are not electrified, because their traction batteries are (re-)charged while the vehicles use the existing overhead network without any loss of time. This technology is called “In-motion charging” and is used in various cities around the globe – trolley:motion has reported about it on several occasions.

Hybrid trolleybuses would clearly allow to restructure the existing bus routes in the city and to built new cross-city connection while keeping and using the existing trolleybus overhead. However, Wellington’s trolleybuses will be replaced by second-hand used “full-emission” diesel buses and to some extent, at a later stage, in part by 32 new battery-electric buses – details are not yet known. Conversion of the existing low-floor trolleybuses which are only 8-10 years old, into hybrid buses of the unproven “Whrightspeed”-technology is still considered, however, considerable delays are noticed with the only converted bus to date just arrived back after more than one year of conversion work.

Trolley booms lowered: 2009-built trolleybus 385 waiting to continue its trip on route 1 with battery power. The current traction batteries allow for off-wire operaion of some 1.5 km.
Picture by: Dirk Budach

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