New Zealand’s experience of transitioning to a zero-emission public transport fleet – a research note

Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - fleet management, infrastructure - vehicle, mode - bus, place - australasia, technology - alternative fuels, technology - emissions


decarbonise, electric bus, electric ferry, hydrogen bus, public transport


Transport is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 17% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. Government has mandated that all new buses procured for public transport use after 01 July 2025 must have zero emissions at the tailpipe, working towards a goal of complete decarbonisation of the public transport fleet by 2035. Several public transport operators have already adopted zero-emission buses or ferries, but many more have yet to start the transition. This research used direct interviews to gather first-hand experiences of bus operators, public transport authorities and government authorities who have been involved in zero-emission public transport transitions. The research note complements a more technical guidance document about designing for battery electric buses, which Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will publish in early 2023 as part of its public transport design guidance. Together, these two documents will provide a useful resource for other public transport authorities and operators planning to transition to zero-emission public transport in New Zealand.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, copyright remains with them.