Ara joins world class EV scheme

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07 Sep 2017

From November, a 100-strong fleet of electric vehicles will be stationed at three hubs around Christchurch and made available for use by businesses and members of the public.

By March next year, Ara will have its own hub with four EVs for staff, students and public to use and additional charging ports for those with their own EVs to recharge. It’s another major step towards more sustainable practice in line with the institute’s Sustainability Charter and the recent launch of the Ara shared bike scheme.

The new shared EV fleet is the brainchild of a Christchurch City Council (CCC)-led group of organisations with large vehicle fleets that are looking to reduce emissions.

“This has taken a high level of collaboration and commitment from CCC and the founding partners, but the result is a scheme that will put Christchurch on the map for sustainable, future-proofed transport. It’s a very exciting opportunity for our staff and, particularly, for our students who will graduate to be leaders in sustainable practice in the near future,” Ara Sustainability Manager Shaun Bowler said.

The fleet will be available through an online booking system. Car share company Yoogo will run the service, which would include Hyundai Ioniqs and BMWi3s.

“An electric vehicle shared fleet is an exciting initiative for our city. The fleet will deliver improved environmental and health outcomes and we are proud to be the first city in New Zealand, and one of the few cities internationally, that has an electric car sharing service,” Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.

Yoogo was selected to implement the service for the Council, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Aurecon, Beca, Canterbury District Health Board, Chapman Tripp, Environment Canterbury, Meridian Energy, Tonkin and Taylor, Warren and Mahoney, Jacobs and Christchurch International Airport. Christchurch residents will also able to book and use the electric vehicles.

The first stage of the car share scheme will be launched in November this year with Hyundai Ionic and BMWi3 vehicles available at hubs in the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu car park, the West End car park and at Christchurch International Airport.

The second phase will see further hubs at the Lichfield Street car park, The Crossing car park, Ara, University of Canterbury, Papanui and Fendalton Libraries, and Lyttelton Community Centre. Overall, there will be 100 electric vehicles at 10 hubs around the city.

Kirsten Corson, General Manager of Yoogo, describes the electric car sharing platform as a smart and sustainable way to get around town for businesses and for everyday Kiwis.

“Yoogo will deliver an experience that is easy, enjoyable and affordable,” says Ms Corson. “The shared vehicle partners and the public will be able to book vehicles online and access them via their phone or swipe card.”

“This will be the largest transition from combustion engines to pure electric shared vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Initially cars will need to be dropped back to their original location but phase two of the service to be rolled out next year would allow shared fleet users to drop vehicles off to different fleet hubs.

Christchurch City Council’s Resource Efficiency Manager Kevin Crutchley said it was an exciting development for Christchurch to have a 100 per cent battery electric transport service.

“New Zealand’s electricity is mostly generated from renewable energy so this electric vehicle scheme will reduce our city’s carbon emissions, in turn improving air quality and driving health benefits.”

The Christchurch Agency for Energy Trust was a foundation supporter, providing a grant towards the electrical and charging infrastructure for the phase one hub roll-out. EECA provided funding towards phase two of the service through the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.

Read more on Stuff: Low-cost on-ramp to the world of electric cars for Christchurch's 21st-century city