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Feature Article

Electric vehicles lead Auckland’s fight for cleaner air

The Auckland Zero Emissions Area trial is tasked with collecting data to inform policy that seeks to improve the area’s air quality.

Auckland’s city centre has the highest population density of anywhere in NZ and exceeds air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM).

A large number of emissions come from motor vehicle traffic, which makes electric transport an important tool in the fight to control the city’s emission levels.

Based within the Waihorotiu Queen Street Valley area, the trial will seek to develop a clearer understanding of how the integration of electric trucks affect transport and delivery systems, which is why five FUSO eCanter models will be used by transport operators Mainfreight, Bidfood, Toll, Owens Transport and Vector OnGas.

“FUSO eCanter is ideal for inner-city delivery,” said Fuso New Zealand group manager sales and customer experience Kathy Schluter. “It is easy to drive, produces zero emissions and is virtually silent, which is a huge benefit for inner-city residents and workers.”

The ZEA falls within the Access for Everyone (A4E) initiative. A4E is an Auckland Council concept, which Auckland Transport is responsible for delivering. It seeks to establish a development framework for the holistic long-term development and management of access to and within Auckland’s city centre.

A4E wants to use the proposed ZEA area, and the data collected from the trial, to improve city centre air quality. The plan will be delivered, in part, by Auckland Council’s existing commitment to create a ZEA in the city centre by 2030. The participation of the five-strong FUSO eCanter fleet is being supported and co-funded by the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA).

The trial will gather the information that will be used to inform future decision making as Auckland Council looks to effect change and achieve those goals. This data will be provided to FUSO by trial participants, which FUSO will pass on to A4E.

In addition, the ZEA trial will help operators understand how they can incorporate FUSO eCanter into their existing fleets.

FUSO eCanter is equipped with advanced crash avoidance technologies such as Active Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning and Electronic Stability Control, designed to protect the driver and other road users.

An innovative electric drivetrain is powered by the 81kWh (420v) lithium-ion, liquid-cooled battery pack and delivers a range of 100-150km on a single charge – well-suited to around-town delivery runs.

Kinetic energy created by the vehicle’s momentum is captured and stored in the batteries for future use, this extends the FUSO eCanter’s practical range.

The electric drivetrain is fitted to a standard 3,400mm wheelbase FUSO Canter cab chassis, which means customers and bodybuilders will work with a familiar 750mm wide frame.

A standard CCS2 plug is used for charging and the eCanter can be charged to 80% battery capacity in under an hour. The vehicle is equipped with an AC charge cable (max 32A), which will allow for a full charge overnight using off-peak power.

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