SAN JOSE, CA and WELLINGTON, New Zealand, April 20, 2016 – Today Wrightspeed Inc., the leading manufacturer of range-extended electric vehicle powertrains, announced a US $30M deal with Infratil-owned NZ Bus, the country’s largest operator of urban bus services. Under the terms of the deal, Wrightspeed will provide its award-winning powertrain technology – the Route™ 500 – to NZ Bus. The move marks Wrightspeed’s first expansion beyond refuse and delivery applications, into mass transit, signaling multinational and multimodal demand for the company’s first-in-kind powertrain technology.
With nearly 75 percent of its electricity sourced from clean energy including, hydro, geothermal and wind power, New Zealand has one of the cleanest energy mixes on the global stage. This deal marks the first tangible step towards New Zealand’s public transportation fleet transitioning to electric powered vehicles, which will make a significant contribution to reducing the country’s carbon footprint.
Zane Fulljames, CEO of NZ Bus, said the company has explored all the options on the market for maintaining a market-leading position in bus infrastructure by accelerating evolution to electric vehicles.
“Wrightspeed’s powertrains outperformed the competition on nearly every metric and will provide us with the fuel source flexibility and economically compelling technology to future-proof our transit assets. For example, the technology enables us to reimagine our trolley buses, rather than decommissioning them,” said Mr. Fulljames.
Wrightspeed’s the Route 500 range-extended powertrain is capable of powering vehicles weighing up to 36,000 pounds, in grades as steep as 40 percent. Vehicles with Wrightspeed’s powertrain maintain an efficient drive, with an estimated 11.1 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent. The 80kW, fuel agnostic Fulcrum™ Turbine Generator charges on-board batteries, which provide power to turn the wheels and give the buses unlimited range with refueling. The company’s patented Geared Traction Drive (GTD)™ digitally drives each wheel of the vehicle, providing the slip control needed to manage New Zealand streets.
“This partnership with NZ Bus is our first international order, which is significant in a country where fuel costs today are close to 3x what they are in the U.S.,” said Ian Wright, CEO and Founder of Wrightspeed. “New Zealand’s commercial fleets have been challenged by some of the most rigorous road conditions and some of the highest global fuel costs. Our technology offers an ideal and economically attractive match for these conditions and is contributing a proven solution to the country’s emerging clean transportation grid.”