Zero-emission charging and refuelling provider Electromotiv has announced it has signed a nine-bus deal with New Zealand operator Go Bus, the largest leasing contract in the Australian so far for the company.

The multi-million dollar contract includes Yutong E12 electric buses, all of which will be serviced and maintained by Electromotiv partner, JW Group as part of the agreement.

Managing director and co-founder of Electromotiv, Toby Roxburgh, said the three-way partnership demonstrated that, as operators look at ways of transitioning to zero-emission fleets, leasing was becoming a convincing commercial option.

“The big advantages of leasing are that it removes upfront costs, reduces risk and enables operators to pick and choose the best technology. Governments and operators are reviewing their procurement solutions as they transition to zero-emission buses, and those advantages are becoming clear and compelling,” Roxburgh said.

“Until now, operators have been struggling to procure high-quality zero-emission vehicles. In part that’s because banks have been reluctant to lend for under seven-year terms. One reason we started our vehicle support division was to remove this lending barrier.”

Roxburgh said his team had dedicated significant time and resources on the economics of vehicle leasing. Their aim has always been to provide operators with electric and hydrogen vehicles that were more than simply “price competitive”.

“We’ve worked very hard to create rates that work out cheaper than the diesel alternative. Only by doing that can we enable projects like this to go ahead,” Roxburgh said.

“What this deal with Go Bus and JW Group shows is that transitioning to ZEBs [zero-emission buses] is now entirely doable. You no longer need to wait to make the transition.”

Go Bus CEO, Calum Haslop, said he was excited to be leading Auckland’s move into zero-emission buses.

“Having trialled two full battery electric buses over a 12-month period and completed thorough due diligence on a number of electric and hydrogen bus deployments worldwide, we are now ready to move to a zero-emission future,” Haslop said.

“We are also rolling out electric buses in other cities in New Zealand and continue to work on hydrogen solutions as a complementary zero-emission option.”

Roxburgh said New Zealand is well ahead of many much larger countries, including Australia, when it comes to zero-emission buses.

“New Zealand is leading the way on ZEBs. We’ve been discussing more New Zealand initiatives and talking to government and other providers, and will be announcing new projects very soon.

“The leasing side of our business is growing quickly. We’ve shown leasing works overseas and in Australia, whether you’re looking for one bus, nine buses or 100 buses. We provide the same methodology, partnering experience and delivery for operators no matter the company or its requirements.”

The nine buses for the new Airport Link will be used to improve transport connections and reliability between Manukau, Puhinui and Auckland Airport, including for workers accessing its employment precinct as well as the airport itself.