NZ Post introduces 'Paxster' postal buggies to Auckland - starting with the North Shore
The postie's arrival at North Shore homes is about to get even more exciting, as they ride in on shiny red, electric delivery buggies.
The North Shore is the first region of Auckland to experience the footpath-compatible vehicles called "Paxsters"- designed and manufactured in Norway.
In recent years, New Zealand Post has seen a transition to delivering a majority of parcel post as opposed to traditional mail.
The Paxster is designed to make this new delivery system more efficient and is capable of carrying 200kg of parcels and mail at once.
"New Zealanders are buying more and more parcels online so New Zealand Post is becoming far more a parcels company that delivers mail rather than the other way around," New Zealand Post chief operating officer Mark Stewart says.
"So this is one investment we're making that reflects our changing business."
The Paxster has been used in a trial run in New Plymouth for a year now, and, from reports, it has been very popular.
"All our drivers were being stopped, people asking for photos, selfies, kids running out wanting a go, all that sort of stuff," Stewart says.
"People are genuinely interested and we expect our guys to be a little bit slower in the first few weeks because of people coming out of their homes and asking what's going on."
The Paxster runs exclusively off an electric battery lasting 70-90km which can be charged overnight from a standard wall socket.
They are capable of reaching 45kmh and require a class 1 full licence to operate.
The first North Shore suburbs to get the Paxster will be Glenfield and Birkenhead, with Hillcrest, Bayview, Beach Haven, Northcote, Northcote Point and Wairau Valley also receiving them by the end of the year.
A national rollout of the Paxster will occur over the next 12 months.
The first shipment of 50 Paxsters arrived in June, with more to come.
"Within the next two years we plan to have 500 Paxsters in operation, which we believe will be the largest fleet of road legal, fully electric vehicles in New Zealand," Stewart says.
While postman rounds on bicycle and by foot will remain at a reduced number, the Paxster will be used where terrain is suitable, avoiding narrow footpaths and busy shopping centres.