The Unison Group has committed to converting 30 per cent of its corporate fleet of vehicles to electric in the next three years, as part of a private sector Electric Vehicle (EV) initiative supported by the Government.
The initiative, co-led by Mercury Energy and Air New Zealand, and supported by Westpac, has seen 30 companies in New Zealand pledge to go electric. It will see more than 1,450 vehicles on New Zealand roads within the next three years, and represent an uptake of more than 75 per cent.
Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland, said the Company already had one electric vehicle as part of its corporate fleet, and had been actively rolling out its public fast-charging stations for EVs across its network.
“We see ourselves playing a key leadership role in supporting the uptake of EVs, and converting our own fleet is part of showcasing that commitment.
"Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly affordable. They cost less than a third of the cost to run, and are cheaper to maintain than cars with combustion engines - all of which make electric vehicles an appealing option for corporate businesses like Unison.”
He said EVs made sense for New Zealand, and the Company looked forward to being part of nationwide initiatives that encouraged more kiwis to go electric.
“Electric vehicles produce no emissions, which will help New Zealand achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
“And, because around 80 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity is produced from renewable energy sources, the electricity you use to charge EVs is also good for our environment. It just makes sense for New Zealand.”
Unison attended last week’s launch event hosted by Fraser Whineray (Mercury), Christopher Luxon (Air New Zealand) and David McLean (Westpac).
“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,” said Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer, Christopher Luxon, following last week’s announcement.
Companies that have made the collective pledge span industries including energy, transport, telecommunications, waste and facilities management, and finance.
Transport, Energy and Resources Minister, Hon Simon Bridges was also in attendance and gave an update on Government initiatives around EV procurement and infrastructure.
In May the Government launched its Electric Vehicle Programme which aims to double the number of EVs on New Zealand roads each year to reach 64,000 by 2021.
Unison’s current corporate fleet consists of sedan and SUV type vehicles, of which 30 per cent will be converted to electric over the next three years.
At this stage the commitment does not include conversion of the Company’s utility vehicles or light trucks to electric, but Mr Sutherland said Unison would continue to monitor developments in this area.
For more information about the Government’s EV Programme, visit http://www.transport.govt.nz/ourwork/climatechange/electric-vehicles/.
Those interested in learning more about electric vehicles or Unison’s ‘Power Park’ charging stations can visit its website at www.unison.co.nz/electric-vehicle-charging.