Nelson business to supply NZTA with first electric bikes
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is making a sustainable move to use electric bikes after its first order for a pilot fleet of three bikes from a Nelson business.
Electric Bike Hub owner Jace Hobbs, who took over the Electric Bike Hub business in Nelson five years ago, was thrilled to be awarded the contract to make the electric bikes for the NZTA. He said the order of three bikes was an "initial order" and he would make more if the pilot is successful.
"It's an iconic order because [NZTA] is an agency that has been not particularly visionary but we're now reading the reports from other parts of the world showing how incredible investments are in cycleways and the beneficial effects of cycling and saving time in inter-city commutes," he said.
The NZTA are welcoming the fleet of bikes as a way to make transport between customers and suppliers more cost-effective and to encourage staff to travel sustainably.
"We're currently investing hundreds of millions of dollars on an unprecedented programme of new cycling projects, and it makes good sense to encourage our own staff to get on their bike," said NZTA regional director for Auckland Ernst Zollner.
"We also see electric bikes as a great way to put ourselves in the shoes of the public as we work to deliver high quality cycling infrastructure throughout the country."
Hobbs said the order showed confidence in the business he has worked hard on. He currently distributes to 22 shops around New Zealand. He has also won contracts to provide bikes to five different city councils.
He said his bikes were sought out because of their minimal maintenance required for upkeep - the gearing on his bikes need adjusting only once every two years.
"An individual might just happen to like any bike whereas a council will have to consider long term maintenance," he said.
"It's not the cheapest bike... but there is a combination of value oriented things with it."
Although Hobbs did not disclose the value of the contract he said it was of high value for his business.
He said operating in Nelson had boosted the company, especially given the popularity for biking in the region.
"I think Nelson is a biking nexus, there is a will among us to have this be a pedestrian and biking community. So I think that it's been a great place for the business," he said.
Zollner said the Electric Bike Hub's prior experience with local governments and reputation for sustainable transport use was what set it apart from others.
He said the three bikes would be used in Auckland.