NZ Post's new electric delivery vehicles
The first of New Zealand Post's bright red electric buggies have landed in Auckland and their nationwide rollout starts this year.
The 50 vehicles from Norwegian manufacturer Paxster AS are earmarked for parcel and mail delivery.
The Paxster vehicles are similar to mobility vehicles, being battery-powered, but are a little larger and have better manoeuvreability, including larger wheels.
A NZ Post spokesperson said people can expect to see the bright red vehicles in operation by mid-2017.
"We're working on a schedule for the national rollout over the next 18 months."
The New Zealand Transport Agency has approved the Paxsters to operate on public roads, but left the issue of public footpath use up to individual councils.
Otorohanga roading manager Martin Gould said the town's footpath network is not well developed, making the use of Paxsters impractical in some areas.
He said Otorohanga's urban road is lightly trafficked so it is not a safety issue for these vehicles to primarily use the roads for delivery runs.
"Drivers can nip on footpaths based on common sense."
The NZ Post spokesperson said the Paxsters are an answer to the changing mail bag.
"The mix of products we're carrying is changing and we now have more parcels and fewer letters to deliver."
The vehicles will enable NZ Post to combine the delivery of parcels and mail in residential areas, instead of having a courier and postie going down the same street.
NZ Post acting chief operating officer Mark Stewart said the new vehicles will reduce NZ Post's impact on the environment.
"Customers will know they can reduce their environmental footprint, too, by choosing to send their parcels through the NZ Post network.
"Early calculations suggest NZ Post will make very good reductions in fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions by using these electric vehicles."
A NZTA spokesperson said the Paxsters are capable of 45kmh and require a class 1 full licence to operate.