The country's largest online retailer, Countdown, has rolled out its first of a fleet of electric trucks tasked with delivering online orders.
The supermarket operator, owned by ASX-listed Woolworths, says it spent close to $700,000 to purchase five electric delivery trucks, which it estimates will eliminate 350,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions each year.
The new trucks are able to drive up to 220 kilometres on a single charge.
Countdown also received a grant worth close to $400,000 from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to help cover costs associated with converting its existing diesel delivery trucks to electric.
The first electric vehicle, stationed at its St Johns store in Auckland, will service online orders in the suburbs of St Johns, Greenlane, Remuera, Stonefields and St Heliers.
Four other electric trucks will be rolled out to Grey Lynn in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in coming months.
Countdown says it fulfils thousands of online orders each day, delivered by about 200 delivery trucks across its network of 180 stores.
The company intends to convert and introduce more electric trucks to its fleet in the next couple of years.
Kiri Hannifin, general manager of corporate affairs, safety and sustainability, said the supermarket had been committed to reducing its carbon emissions.
Countdown had reduced its carbon emissions across the business by almost 15 per cent in the last three years, she said.
"We believe that electric vehicles will play a really important part of New Zealand's lower energy future and by investing in electric delivery trucks we're not only generating fewer emissions, but also helping to future-proof our growing online business," Hannifin said.
"Countdown's online shopping service is hugely popular and we always review, tweak and change how we operate to make sure we can provide as sustainable service as possible. Having more energy-efficient trucks is a step in the right direction."
The retailer has introduced an electric charging station at its South Auckland support office and 15 electric vehicle charging stations at five Hamilton stores.
Countdown has offered online shopping for 23 years, and says uptake is growing year-on-year. Its online sales account for 6.5 per cent of Woolworth New Zealand's total sales.
The Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund has co-funded 120 projects to date, at a total of $20.9 million, including to organisations looking to introduce electric vehicles or convert vehicles to electric, and implement charging stations.
In 2017, The Warehouse Group received just under $100,000 in funding to install 20 electric vehicle charging stations at 20 of its stores, and shopping centre operator Kiwi Property received a grant of over $200,000 to install 43 charging stations at its mall locations.
Richard Briggs, manager of programme partnerships at EECA, said transport made up around 19 per cent of New Zealand's total energy-related emissions.
"Switching to electric is one of the fastest ways an organisation can bring its [carbon] footprint down – we're pleased that the fund has enabled businesses to assess their fleets in order to switch to electric, and in the case of companies like Countdown and others, look at heavy vehicles," Briggs said.
"Taking a diesel delivery truck off the road has a big impact."