This week, Wrightspeed, a California-based manufacturer of range-extended electric vehicle powertrains, founded by New Zealand-born Ian Wrighgt (who we talked to here), announced a US$30 milliom deal with Infratil-owned NZ Bus, the largest operator of urban bus services in New Zealand. Wrightspeed will provide its Route 500 power train technology to NZ Bus. This is Wrightspeed's first expansion beyond refuse and delivery applications, into mass transit.
Zane Fulljames, CEO of NZ Bus, says that as nearly 82% of New Zealand’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources, transition to electric-powered public transport alongside private vehicles is crucial in reducing the country’s carbon footprint and as owners and operators of fleet, bus companies have a key role to play.
“We have explored all the options on the market for future-proofing our fleet," he says. "Wrightspeed’s powertrains outperformed the competition on nearly every metric and will provide us with the fuel source flexibility and economically compelling technology to achieve that. In the near term, the technology will enable us to repower our trolley buses, to enable them to be used anywhere in New Zealand. Upon successful repowering of the trolleys, the next stage of the journey to commence would be the retrofitting of the Wrightspeed powertrains to other selected vehicle types in the fleet.”
Also, Melbourne-based (but NZ founded and lead) augmented reality startup Platter has raised AU$1.1 million in a seed funding round led by News Corp Australia, with participation from existing investors. Platter is a cloud-based platform, allowing users to create and distribute augmented reality content.
The investment from News Corp's – it's first investment in a seed funding round – stemmed from a collaboration between News Corp and Plattar with REA Group and Ray White, using AR to make self-guided virtual tours of real estate.
Plattar is currently only available for private testing, but, according to Startup Daily, has a “blue chip” early client base across Australia, NZ, and the US, including multiple Fortune 500 companies.
Plattar's CEO, Rupert Deans, is also the CEO of digital agency One Fat Sheep (covered by our sister publication here).
Also recently announced, Christchurch-based startup LWA Solutions got the contract to build a new app for Aramex, the largest logistics and transport services company in the Middle East.
With support from Microsoft, LWA Solutions will make a new solution for Aramex's Windows Mobile devices, that will help Aramex "uber-ise" courier delivery.
You can read more about LWA's courier app here.