NZ Bus Panmure Bus Station EV Project

Work, 4 July 2023
Panmure Bus Station EV Project 

NZ Busis Auckland’s principal bus company and New Zealand's largest urban public transport business and operator of metropolitan bus services. 

In partnership with Auckland Transport (AT), NZ Bus are replacing diesel buses with electric buses as part of AT’s Mission Electric to create a more efficient and sustainable transport network. 

Launching a fleet of electric buses requires more than just putting the zero emissions buses on the road, it also requires the infrastructure to charge them and keep them running. 

With a hard deadline set by AT, the project needed to be completed in a tight timeframe. 

The project went to tender and DGE was selected thanks to our competitive pricing and evident understanding of the need to be agile. 

The challenge

Completing a full EV infrastructure installation on a tight schedule

NZ Bus had a very tight timeframe to get the infrastructure installed before the arrival of the electric fleet and the scheduled go-live date. This gave our team only two months to complete the civil works and electrical work required once work began.

Trenching safely through a live bus station without interrupting operations

What made this project more challenging was that NZ Bus didn’t want to lose any operations on site. Trenching through a fully operational bus station required a staged approach to avoid interfering with the bus schedule and address safety concerns for the bus drivers. 

The scope

Construction and installation of the infrastructure required to charge a fleet of electric buses

With Panmure Bus Station originally built for a diesel fleet, new infrastructure needed to be installed to facilitate the switch to a fully EV fleet. DGE were contracted to deliver all the civil and electrical works required to achieve this, including:

·       installing a new transformer
·       procuring and installing the main switchboard equipment
·       digging a pit under the main switchboard cabinet for the 90 cables that needed to go up and into the stainless steel cabinet
·       trenching from the main switchboard to every EV charger
·       building a traffic island for every charger to protect the charging equipment
·       reconfiguring the existing traffic islands to enable the bus drivers to exit the bus and plug the charger into the bus without stepping into oncoming traffic

Our delivery

DGE’s team of experienced and highly skilled electricians completed the electrical work for the project, and a subcontractor was brought in to complete the civil works. 

Our team had experience completing this type of installation in an airport environment, but we were excited to apply our knowledge and expertise in a new environment.

Navigating a challenging site

Given our previous experience installing the main switchboard at Auckland Airport’s power centre, we were confident we had the knowledge to successfully deliver the work required. 

But this time with a live site, we needed to carefully plan and design a staged install to ensure that we could work around the bus schedules without creating safety risks for the bus drivers or our team. 

Communication and coordination with the bus station staff was key to achieving this.

We started at the end of the bus station closest to the main switchboard, cordoning off a small section of the station at a time, and then opening it back up once the installation in that area had been completed. 

Delivering above and beyond expectations

Throughout the delivery of the project, our team came up with solutions to unexpected issues on site and suggestions of how we could complete the project faster, more efficiently, or to achieve a better outcome. 

An example of this was making design modifications to the traffic islands to make it easier for the buses to pull in and out of their bay.

The final hurdle was lining up the prerequisites required for Vector to liven the transformer. Two weeks before the go-live date, Vector said they couldn’t make it happen. 

We refused to accept this, sending our site manager to Vector’s office to find the right people to make it happen. While there was still a small delay, it was much less than it could have been. 

The outcome

A project partner you can rely on 

Despite the difficult conditions, the project was a success. NZ Bus and AT were both very impressed by DGE’s delivery of the required works and how smoothly and efficiently the project ran. 

By going above and beyond, DGE were able complete the project in a timeframe that well-exceeded NZ Bus and AT’s expectations. 

Our responsive, collaborative, and action-orientated approach was just what the project needed when things got tough. 

DGE has since been given the contracts for the future NZ Bus EV rollouts across Auckland.

New Zealand’s first fully electric bus depot

This was an amazing project for the sustainability of transport. The Panmure depot became the first fully electric bus depot in NZ and Australasia’s largest all-electric bus operation to date.

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