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03 September 2019 | Environment

Something electric is in the air

The roar of the engine is now a soothing hum. The click of the gear shifts is now a smooth acceleration. And the cost to fill up? A lot less painful.

If this sounds like a description of some far-flung, futuristic device, you’d be partly right. Except the future is now, and that device is an electric vehicle.

Back in 2016, we announced our commitment to transition 30% of our light vehicle fleet to electric vehicles (EVs). Thanks to our fleet partners, Hyundai New Zealand and Custom Fleet, we’ve been able to bring our commitment to life. Earlier this month, the first batch of those 72 cars in total, began arriving here in New Zealand and hitting the road around the country.

Switching to EVs is a key part of our sustainability plan, and is part of our role to help the country at-large make the transition. We know that New Zealand is a second-hand car market, so by having corporates lead the charge initially, we’re opening up the market so EVs are more accessible to everyone in the near future,” says David Benattar, Chief Sustainability Officer at The Warehouse Group.

“New Zealand has a huge opportunity as a country to accelerate the transition to a low carbon-emission transportation solution. This project is one facet of our Here for Good approach as a business, and one we’re very proud to be taking on.”

While some people maintain that EVs are a passing fad or far from wide-spread implementation, the stats say otherwise. In fact, the number of EVs on New Zealand’s roads has nearly tripled in the past two years. On top of that, the Government has announced another $4.5 million of funding for EV infrastructure as part of its Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, which will support the expansion of the charging network and help organisations get on board.

And it’s not just passenger cars that will be making the switch. EV trucks are the next wave of vehicles set to disrupt our transportation networks as we know it. We recently received funding towards leasing four Class 1 electric home delivery trucks, which will be used in Auckland, Christchurch, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu. Each truck will drive upwards of 250km daily, visiting up to 4000 customers annually.

To celebrate the first cars of our light vehicle fleet arriving, and to show that EVs can handle everything a standard car can, like a weekend roadie, we set out on a trip from Wellington to Christchurch in the new Hyundai Kona. From Petone to Picton, Blenheim and on to Christchurch, the Kona coasted through valleys, ventured off the beaten path and offered our team a zero-emission trip full of New Zealand’s finest natural beauty.

Check out the extended cut of the road trip video below.

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