Business leaders from some of New Zealand’s most iconic companies have come together today, with a shared vision to transition their fleets to electric vehicles (EVs).
The initiative is driven jointly by Air New Zealand and Mercury, with the support of Westpac, and represents a total corporate sector commitment of more than 1,450 vehicles, increasing the number of EVs on New Zealand roads by more than 75% within the next three years.
Along with the significantly lower running costs of electricity, this could remove almost 3 million kg of carbon emissions annually.
The business leaders, representing more than 30 organisations, each committed to transition at least 30% of their company vehicle fleets to plug-in electric vehicles by 2019 at the breakfast briefing in Auckland, which was also attended by Transport, Energy & Resources Minister Hon. Simon Bridges.
The collective commitment – which spans a diverse spectrum of industries including telecommunications, transport, waste and facilities management, finance and energy – follows announcements from Mercury in 2014 and Air New Zealand in March this year on their moves to EVs.
Air New Zealand will transition more than 75% of its light vehicle ground fleet to electric by the end of this year.
Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says today’s event is a landmark in addressing New Zealand transport emissions and demonstrating genuine sustainability.
“We knew other business leaders were interested in the potential of electric vehicles, both from an environmental and commercial standpoint. We wanted to get the business community together to lead the way on EVs and create the critical mass of demand necessary to really launch the market in New Zealand.
“The government has been a great partner to business in rising to the EV challenge. I know they will be keen to see even more EVs in the government fleet in the future. I also hope lots of other organisations will be inspired to come on board too.”
Mercury introduced plug-in vehicles to its fleet more than five years ago and will have more than 70% plug-in electric by 2018.
Chief Executive Fraser Whineray says the business case for organisations and the logic of electric vehicles in New Zealand is clear, given the country’s renewable electricity supply, which is the envy of other countries around the world.
“This is New Zealand’s greatest green-growth opportunity. It’s very hard to argue with home-grown fuel at the equivalent of 30 cents per litre, no tailpipe emissions, reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels and helping preserve our hard-earned export dollars.
“New Zealanders are already on this journey with over half of all EVs in this country owned privately. Today’s commitment by business is significant both in showing leadership and because these cars will end up in the second-hand market, where most Kiwis buy their cars.”
Westpac Chief Executive David McLean says it was an easy decision becoming involved and supporting this initiative.
“We’ve started a trial of EVs and we’re committed to building this out across our fleet over the next few years and have undertaken to transition to 80 electric vehicles by 2019.
“Being a good corporate citizen is not just about the decisions that organisations make about their own business but about taking a broader leadership position.”