An electric car sharing scheme launched in Christchurch today will make 100 cars available at 10 hubs around the rebuilding city in what's been described as the largest transition from combustion engines to pure electric shared vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere.
The car sharing service will reduce in emissions, and offer a more efficient use of vehicles to businesses and residents, partnered with public and private sector organisations.
"An electric car sharing scheme is an exciting initiative for our city," Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said at the launch at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu this morning.
"The fleet will deliver improved environmental and health outcomes and we are proud to be the first city in New Zealand, and one of the few cities internationally, that has an electric car sharing service."
The Christchurch City Council chose Kiwi fleet management company, Yoogo to implement the service for the council, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Aurecon, Beca, Canterbury District Health Board, Chapman Tripp, Environment Canterbury, Meridian Energy, Tonkin and Taylor, Warren and Mahoney, Christchurch International Airport and Jacobs. Residents will also be able to book and use the electric vehicles.
Yoogo general manager Kirsten Corson said the electric car sharing platform was a "smart and sustainable way to get around town" for businesses and residents.
The first stage of the car share scheme will be launched in November, when Hyundai Ioniq and BMWi3s will be available at hubs in the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu car park, the West End car park and at Christchurch International Airport.
More hubs will open at the Lichfield Street car park, The Crossing car park, Ara Institute, Canterbury University, Papanui and Fendalton Libraries, and Lyttelton the Community Centre until there are 100 electric vehicles at 10 hubs around the city.
"Our electricity is largely generated from renewable energy, so this electric vehicle scheme will reduce our city's carbon emissions. Also using a transport service with zero tail pipe emissions will improve air quality and have positive health benefits for the residents of Christchurch," Kevin Crutchley, the city council's resource efficiency manager and scheme project manager said.
Christchurch Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns says joining the scheme aligns with the airport's interest in energy management and migrating its vehicle fleet to fully electric.
The Christchurch Agency for Energy Trust was a foundation supporter, providing a grant towards the charging infrastructure for the first phase. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority has provided funding towards phase two of the service through the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.