Bus batteries – next stop sustainability

Posted on 20 June 2023

Bus batteries – next stop sustainability

If you were to open the engine bay of one of Nelson Tasman’s new electric buses next to the engine bay of a Nissan Leaf you’d notice at least one key difference. A different battery.

The Foton 12m Electric City Bus, 17 of which will have arrived in Nelson ahead of the August 1 launch date, uses a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery as opposed to the Nickel Magnesium Cobalt (NMC) batteries used in many electric vehicles. 

Nelson City Council Group Manager Infrastructure Alec Louverdis says that LFP batteries are safer and more sustainable than NMC batteries. 

“LFP batteries are more in tune with the needs of our new bus network in almost every way when compared to an NMC. The LFP battery has a longer life cycle, is better value, and as it doesn’t use nickel, magnesium or cobalt is more environmentally sustainable. 

“It’s also less likely to catch fire. LFP batteries are less prone to this issue than NMC batteries due to their more stable chemical structure."

The LFP batteries that will come with our buses are expected to last for more than 10 years, but once they reach that point it won’t be the end of their journey. 

“The buses could be used on a shorter run or alternatively the old batteries can be reused at the Richmond bus depot to store energy from renewable sources to charge buses or supply power to the depot,” says Louverdis.  

“Giving the batteries a second life goes further to reducing the impact our buses have on the environment. We’re really excited to get the new buses on the road, so Nelsonians can see just how good their new service will be.”

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