Four things you need to know about electric vehicle fleets

5 May 2015

SBN is working with our members to accelerate the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand. Last week we attended Drive Electric’s Plug-in Fleet Day. Here are our top takeaways from the day’s Leaders’ Breakfast.

The Plug-In Fleet Day aimed to encourage corporate fleet buyers to make the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles.  The SBN believes that EVs are a no-brainer for New Zealand for a host of reasons and we came away from the event inspired by the opportunity EVs present.  Here are four quotes we think captured the key points from the Leaders’ Breakfast:

  1. “No country is more EV ready than New Zealand.” – Fraser Whineray, CEO, Mighty River Power

With 80 per cent renewable electricity supply, 1.5 million charging stations in homes, 30c per litre comparative cost of electric vehicles, 2000 kg annual reduction in carbon emissions for every EV, and seven models currently available, the time is right for New Zealand to embrace EVs.

In November 2014, Mighty River Power announced that it would convert 70 per cent of its company fleet to plug-in or hybrid plug-in cars over the next four years. It currently has 16 EVs and will have 20 by the end of the year.

  1. “New Zealand has the power to charge your fleet and you have the power to change your fleet.”Mark Gilbert, Chair, Drive Electric

New Zealand is world leading in renewable energy systems, in terms of both price and accessibility. The infrastructure for EVs is ready, with the ability to charge in the home and at a growing number of public charging stations around the country.  The seven EV and hybrid models already available in New Zealand are: the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander, Audi A3 e-tron, Tesla Model S, Holden Volt and BMW i3. 

Historically, there have been some perceived barriers to the uptake of EVs, including price and range, though this is now changing. The market is causing prices to start dropping, particularly with the availability of second-hand vehicles, and ranges vary from 160km for pure electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, to 400-500km for hybrid electric vehicles with an engine back-up. An education campaign, supported by Government, would help dispel further misconceptions about EVs.

  1. “We see a big future in New Zealand for electric vehicles.” – Hon. Simon Bridges, Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister of Transport

EVs are a sustainability initiative that are perfectly aligned with our export economy and ‘100 per cent pure’ brand. Fleet purchasers are a vital part of New Zealand’s EV story.

“This is an industry where disruption will be key.”Mike Underhill, CEO, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)

With so many benefits, EVs offer New Zealanders an opportunity to transform how we use energy. Internationally, there is strong growth of EVs, with 500,000 sales globally by 31 March of this year. In New Zealand, there are currently 589 EVs on the road, comprising less than 1 per cent of sales, but if we seize the opportunity there could be 15,000 EVs in this country in five years’ time. Shifts can happen relatively quickly.

The Sustainable Business Network is about to launch a survey of members to find out who is interested in converting vehicles to EVs or hybrids. We are working with Leaseplan and Optifleet to understand the demand and requirements of our members: the more demand, the better the price. The survey will come out next week so please respond to it or contact Rachel@sustainable.org.nz to make sure you get included.

Find out about our work on Smart Transport and contact Rachel Brown to find out more or get involved.