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NZ major corporates commit to EV expansion

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/10/2016 Pattrick Smellie

Thirty of New Zealand's largest companies are committing to at least 30 per cent of their corporate fleets being electric vehicles by 2019.

The initiative represents some 1,450 vehicles - a 75 per cent increase in the total number of EVs on New Zealand roads on Friday.

It coincides with an unheralded government decision to begin procuring EVs for the public sector in quarterly tranches from the end of this year in an effort to bulk up demand for either fully electric or plug-in hybrids capable of being charged from the national grid and running on conventional fossil fuels.

Friday's announcement is significant because studies of the potential for EVs in New Zealand have concluded that a market will only start to develop when corporate and government fleets start converting to them.

Leading the charge in the latest initiative are the national airline, Air New Zealand, and Auckland-based electricity generator and retailer, Mercury, which is also increasingly offering micro-generation options for customers, including rooftop solar panel installation.

Westpac is supporting the initiative and among the 30 companies to commit to the 30 per cent by 2019 target are Fonterra, Spark, AMP, BMW, Contact Energy, Kiwirail, Orion, Powerco, The Warehouse, Xero, Vodafone, Waste Management, Watercare and Transpower.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges welcomed the initiative, and pointed to the government's support for EVs through accelerated depreciation, the removal of road user charges for heavy EVs, and permission for EVs to use bus lanes, as well as the decision to begin EV procurement across the public sector.

"I think it's going to take business, individuals and government all stepping up" to accelerate a shift to EVs, he said.

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