Driving electric boosts business goals
Reducing the impacts of climate change is a global goal that can only be achieved if everyone plays their part, which is why Meridian Energy is committed to using Electric Vehicles (EVs) in its fleet, and making it easier for New Zealand businesses and families to do the same.
"We are a 100 percent renewable energy company and have always been committed to protecting the environment, " says general manager for retail at Meridian Energy, Neal Barclay. "We think New Zealand can make a big difference to not only the impact of climate change, but our competitive position in the world by reducing reliance on fossil fuels by electrifying transport."
EVs boast the enviable credentials of not only being good for the environment, but good for the bank account as well. On average, an EV generates 80 per cent fewer CO2 emissions than a petrol car. Each EV on the road saves three tonnes of carbon gases from going into the environment each year. Although the initial outlay on a new vehicle is more, running costs are significantly lower than for a petrol or diesel vehicle. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) puts the cost at an equivalent to 30 cents per litre, and by taking advantage of Meridian's Rest Easy EV plan, it may be even less.
Currently, 30 per cent of the Meridian fleet is made up of 100 percent battery electric vehicles, with a commitment to increasing this to 50 per cent by the middle of next year. The defining moment for the company came when GPS units were placed in its vehicles for safety reasons. A by-product of that move was a significant amount of data showing how far vehicles were travelling each day, and thanks to a growing network of charging stations, the distances that could be covered in an EV.
"We suggest that businesses look at what they are using their vehicles for," says Barclay. "When we looked at that data we discovered that range wouldn't be an issue."
Meridian partnered with local company Smartrak to get that data. Barclay says that partnership – and other key ones – are an important part of the transition to going electric and providing the infrastructure that will make it sustainable.
"This isn't just a Meridian thing, or about any single company," says Barclay. "This is going to be a global phenomenon and we all need to work together."
That's why Meridian is working alongside Kiwi Properties, by installing free charging stations at shopping malls in Auckland, Christchurch and Palmerston North.
Car sharing schemes are all about making vehicle use more sustainable, so particularly lend themselves to EV use. Meridian is working with both Mevo in Wellington and Yoogo in Christchurch, providing electricity for EVs that people can access when they need a vehicle.
As part of this commitment to helping businesses realise the benefits of going electric, Meridian has sponsored the SME EV Champion of the Year as part of the evworldNZ Champions Awards.
Barclay says it's impressive to not only see New Zealand businesses committed to protecting the environment, but committed to working together.
"We're playing our part," he says.
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