Auckland Transport unveils electric car sharing

10 March 2015

On 9 March Auckland Council announced the roll-out of an electric vehicle car-sharing scheme. The proposal would allow for an initial 250 electric cars, ramping up to around 500 cars city-wide.

Releasing a Request for Proposal to car share companies, Auckland Transport (AT) chairman Dr Lester Levy said the scheme would be based on membership, which could be monthly or annually, and would also require a pay-per-trip charge. This follows the trend of car-share schemes like New Zealand’s Cityhop, and international electric vehicle car-sharing services such as Paris’ AutoLib and Berlin’s MultiCity. Some 5 million people are current members of car-sharing schemes, and the numbers are growing.

According to Dr Levy, even if the scheme achieved AT’s lowest expectations, there will be 2000 cars removed from our congested roads. If the scheme takes off, up to 10,000 cars could be replaced with electric models. Dr Levy also announced that the Council would designate car parking spaces with charge points for the electric vehicles to increase the effectiveness of the service and ensure adequate infrastructure.

Dr Levy said that companies with large fleets, like Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, could look at a reduction of 25 to 50 per cent in their fleet, with benefits to rate payers and the environment. He issued a call for other large companies to reconsider the impacts of their fleets.

He said that research shows that those who partake in car-share schemes often change their behaviours by reducing their travel distance. He also said a share car could replace between eight and 20 privately-owned cars, and that members of a car-sharing scheme are more likely to alter their transport habits, engaging more with public transport, walking and cycling.  

Dr Levy, who is also the Waitemata Distric Health Board chair, emphasised the health cost of cars and air pollution, stating that 126 people under the age of 30 die prematurely from transport emissions in Auckland. “Anything that brings that figure down is worth doing – and this is but one of the health benefits that will come from cleaning up Auckland’s air.”

Mayor Len Brown, who also spoke at the event, said these kinds of innovative initiatives would directly feed into the Council’s goal of a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2040. “A scheme like this can make an important contribution to both our transport network, our commitment to lowering carbon emissions and our sustainability initiatives.” He emphasised the scheme’s benefits including decongestion of our roads, a focus on renewable energy and a reduction of emissions.

Several vehicles were on display from Mighty River Power and Vector, who are both huge supporters of electric vehicles.

The Request for Proposal will close on the 8th of May at 3pm.

Find out about the Sustainable Business Network’s work stream on Accelerating Smart Transport in New Zealand – including the mainstreaming of electric vehicles.