26 Apr
Turbines aren't just powered by the wind any more.

New Zealand buses utilise new turbine technology

When people think of electricity and turbines, they might immediately picture enormous wind farms, bringing clean, green power to the grid. Along with solar, wind power makes up one of the most popular forms of alternative energy on the market, and could well be the key to ensuring a more sustainable future.

However, it looks like this kind of technology is no longer relegated to the household power sector, as NZ Bus, the largest urban bus operator in Aotearoa, has entered a US$30 million deal with Wrightspeed – inventors of the Fulcrum turbine and Geared Traction Drive powertrain (GTD).

The future of public transport is changing.The future of public transport is changing.

A new age of power generation

The Fulcrum and GTD are capable of powering vehicles of over 16,000kg while also maintaining an impressive 21.2l/100km fuel efficiency.

While hybrids have been around for a little while, they utilise a pairing of fossil fuel and electric motors, activating them in series as needed. They tend to be far more fuel efficient than a typical petrol vehicle, but they do still require fuel in order to keep operating once the electric motor has run its course. Furthermore, these hybrids have been relegated heavily to the passenger vehicle sector, leaving fleet managers who use industrial trucks and vans behind.

However, the Fulcum turbine aims to change all that. Rather than using both an electric and a petrol engine, the Fulcrum uses a fossil fuel generator that powers an electric motor. Meanwhile the GTD, the recipient of all this electric power, uses software controls rather than a traditional gearbox, reducing weight and improving efficiency even further.

It's understandable why NZ Buses might be keen to get onto this fuel-saving technology.

How much improvement is there?

According to a recent press release from Wrightspeed, the Fulcrum and GTD are capable of powering vehicles of over 16,000kg while also maintaining an impressive 21.2l/100km fuel efficiency – significant for the large vehicle sector. Considering NZ Bus contains a fleet of over 1,000 buses and provides more than 50 million trips a year to New Zealanders, this kind of fuel efficiency is key to improving the fleet. But what about the average fleet manager?

Wrightspeed describes this deal as their first step into mass transit, and heralds a multinational shift in demand. With such a huge amount of capital now being placed into the Fulcrum turbine technology, it could only be a matter of time before the average Kiwi gains access too.

However, if you're looking to make the most of your fuel right now without having to wait or adapt your fleet, you can get in touch with us to score a fuel card. Great deals, better control – what's not to like?