A company which set up one of the world's first electric car-sharing fleets in Christchurch hopes to do the same in Whangārei.

At a meeting at Northland Regional Council this week, Yoogo explained how it targeted big employers, urging them to give up some of their fleet cars and share with a wider electric vehicle (EV) pool fleet.

The concept was launched in Christchurch in February with 12 corporate customers including Environment Canterbury, the district health board, Meridian Energy, Christchurch Airport and private firms.

Yoogo now has 100 EVs and 100 chargers at eight hubs in Christchurch, centred mostly around the CBD but also at the airport, and charges a business rate of $12 an hour for the use of an EV.

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The costs are offset by also allowing the public to hire the cars — at $14.50 an hour. Per-kilometre costs kick in after an initial free 180km.

Yoogo general manager Kirsten Corson said fleet sharing, with no capital expenditure and no monthly fee, is attractive to small businesses unable to afford late-model, five-star-safety cars.

But the gains also extend to curbing climate-change emissions. She says the fleet in Christchurch has already saved 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide. International research shows a share car generally displaces between five and 15 private cars.

The idea for Whangārei is to have three or four hubs, with two to three EVs per hub.
Corson told the meeting the cars are groomed every two weeks (but if a car is messy the previous driver gets billed), insurance is included but some firms choose to self-insure, and they can be booked on the fly with a cellphone app, usually with a less-than-two-minute delay.

To open and close the car, users require a RFID card or smartphone. They must pick up and drop off the car at the same point, and are charged for time away from the hub, but Yoogo is working on allowing one-way trips.

Northland EV advocate Joe Camuso says this is a great opportunity for Whangārei people to get behind the wheel of an EV.

"Car sharing could also allow two-car families to potentially own one and share one when needed," Camuso said.

"Owning a car comes with a lot of intrinsic costs, such as rego, WOF, insurance, fuel and maintenance. With fuel prices on the rise, this is a great way to counter that cost. I fully back the idea."

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