Westpac commits to converting 100% of its fleet to electric cars

We first added three electric vehicles (EVs) in late 2016 before committing and achieving our goal to convert 30% of our fleet by 2019.

Travelling to see our customers is one of the biggest source of our emissions so we are taking on the challenge to convert the remainder of our fleet to EVs by end of 2025.

These will eventually make their way into the used car market at a much lower purchase price than a new EV, making EVs more accessible for every day Kiwis to purchase.

Accompanying the introduction of the cars to the fleet is the largest corporate charger installation in New Zealand.

See how New Zealand companies are supporting the change to electric vehicles in New Zealand

Key facts

  • A total of 100% of Westpac’s fleet cars will be electric or plug-in hybrid by the end of 2025.
  • This will remove almost 1000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually – the equivalent of taking about 195 cars off the road.
  • Electric vehicles use electricity at the equivalent of 30c per litre, have no tailpipe emissions and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels.

See our EV case study

Frequently Asked Questions

Conventional cars burn petrol or diesel in an internal combustion engine, turning the wheels and moving the vehicle. Electric cars use electric motors to partially or entirely replace the internal combustion engine. Instead of supplying all the fuel from a fuel tank, electric-drive vehicles use batteries to supply electricity for the motor.

All of the EVs joining Westpac’s fleet are either Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) or Parallel Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV). A BEV is run 100% on battery and does not use petrol. A PHEV uses a combination of battery and petrol to run the car. PHEVs use battery first then switch seamlessly to petrol if the battery has no charge left.

EVs have the potential to reduce the emissions and pollution from cars, trucks and buses. If the electricity on which they run is produced by renewable energy, EVs are virtually emission free. However, if an electric-drive vehicle is charged primarily using electricity generated from coal, its carbon footprint is only slightly better than the average petrol vehicle and is significantly worse than a good hybrid.

Promisingly though, around 80%¹ of the electricity generated in New Zealand comes from renewable energy sources such as hydropower, geothermal power and increasingly wind energy, providing energy independence and supporting the local economy. 100% of the electricity Westpac will be using to charge the vehicles on site will be from renewable sources.

As the majority of New Zealand’s electricity comes from renewable resources, replacing petrol and diesel vehicles is a good way for the country to reduce its carbon footprint. A Life Cycle Analysis report commissioned by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) in 2015² found that EVs are better for the New Zealand environment than petrol or diesel powered vehicles, across the lifecycle of the vehicle as well as in use.

 

¹http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/energy/energy-data-modelling/publications/energy-in-new-zealand
²https://www.eeca.govt.nz/news-and-events/media-releases/research-confirms-environmental-benefits-of-electric-vehicles/

While EVs do contain rare earth materials in small amounts (as do most petrol and diesel vehicles), the 2015 EECA study findings¹ show that the resource depletion impact of rare earth metals was not a significant issue.

The lithium salts used in lithium-ion batteries for current EVs on the market are neither a rare earth nor a precious metal. Extracting lithium does not require strip mining or blasting. Lithium is found in ‘salar brines’ or underground reservoirs and is pumped to the surface, stored in large surface ponds and left to dry in the sun. Lithium carbonate is left behind. This is then processed into lithium. The companies that extract lithium have strict environmental management systems in place and comply with ISO Standards.

The batteries in modern EVs contain no heavy metals, nor any toxic materials, and could be disposed of by putting them in a landfill. Rather than landfill the batteries, when they have reached their useful life in a vehicle, EV batteries still have 70-80% of their capacity, and can be repurposed for highly valuable uses such as stationary storage (e.g. power storage for domestic solar installations).

 

¹https://www.eeca.govt.nz/news-and-events/media-releases/research-confirms-environmental-benefits-of-electric-vehicles/

Most people drive less than 29kms a day, and 90% of all journeys are under 90km¹, well within the range of most electric vehicles, and EVs can be recharged overnight at home, using a standard 3- point plug. The network of public infrastructure is growing quickly thanks to government grants and corporate investment. These chargers are often located in convenient locations like supermarkets and shopping centre carparks, so that you can use them to give your batteries a boost if needed. Visit Plug Share for a location of a charger near you.

 

¹https://www.energywise.govt.nz/on-the-road/electric-vehicles/electric-vehicle-range/

The range, or the distance an electric car can travel on a single charge or fill up, is constantly increasing with technological improvements. The range of battery electric cars on the market today varies from about 100 to more than 400 kilometres. Greater range for battery cars tends to come with higher costs because the vehicle requires a larger battery pack.

The Hyundai Ioniq cars Westpac is using for our fleet have a range of around 200 kilometres per full charge, which is enough for an average day on the road without recharging. Temperature and driving style can also significantly affect how far the electric car can go on a single charge. A driver who speeds or who needs heat to stay warm or air conditioning to cool off will experience a smaller range.