Electricity distributor Powerco is supporting community based health and social service provider Tui Ora to go green with the launch of a community-based electric vehicle trial.
For the trial, Powerco has installed an electric vehicle charging station at Tui Ora and provided a 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf for staff to use for 12 months.
The purpose of the trial is to collect data so Powerco can better understand how the use of electric vehicles will impact its network, as the use of electric vehicles grows.
Tui Ora was seen as the ideal candidate because of the community services it provides and the fact that its staff travel throughout Taranaki to visit clients.
"Tui Ora is a key provider in the region. While we will be gathering important data for our own use, we also want the trial to benefit the community at large," says Powerco chief executive Nigel Barbour.
"Electric vehicles powered by renewable energy will play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and work towards achieving positive climate change in New Zealand."
The Government target is to have 64,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand by 2021. The number is growing faster than expected, with already 5000 registered.
"Electric vehicles are undoubtedly the future of domestic transport in New Zealand, and Powerco is committed to being at the forefront of this exciting new technology," says Mr Barbour.
"As we enter into this new era on our roads, it's important that we understand how we can best meet our customers' needs. This trial will help us understand what is required for our electricity network to accommodate electric vehicle growth."
In conjunction with ChargeNet NZ, Powerco already has 10 public-use fast charge EV stations connected to its network. The company has also embraced the technology at its own offices with a charger on site and four electric vehicles in its fleet.
The eight Tui Ora staff elected to be the e-vehicle drivers are excited by the opportunity to drive using new technology, agreeing that "it's the way of the future". They include a range of corporate and service delivery staff.
Tui Ora chief executive Hayden Wano says he's thrilled that the organisation is involved in the trial and will be taking a keen interest in how staff find the process. The car will be visible around North Taranaki with a combination of Tui Ora and Powerco branding.
The Powerco and Tui Ora community-based electric vehicle trial was officially launched at Tui Ora on Tuesday last week.
Kiera Neal, 4, was at the launch. As well as being a representative of the next generation, who will grow up with electric vehicles, Kiera's parents are also representative of the partnership, with her mum Jo working for Tui Ora while dad Chris works for Powerco.