Tuesday, 16 October 2018 21:25

New Zealand businesses increasingly look to electric vehicles for fleets: report

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Driveline's Lance Manins says electric vehicle leasing on the increase Driveline's Lance Manins says electric vehicle leasing on the increase

New Zealand vehicle leasing company Driveline says there’s been an increase in businesses wanting to adopt electric vehicles in their fleets, as the use of such vehicles by private individuals continues to grow across the country.

According to Driveline, there are now more than 10,000 electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand — up from 440 just four years’ earlier — and the growth is in line with the government’s target of having 64,000 EVs on the roads by 2021.

Driveline chief executive Lance Manins says there’s been a 26% increase in requests for EVs through Driveline since April, potentially due to regional fuel taxes and fluctuating fuel costs putting businesses "under the pump".

Manins predicts the trend of moving towards EVs will continue to skyrocket in 2019.

“Businesses embracing electric vehicles is something we’ve been watching closely for several years and we’ve seen an influx of enquiries from those interested in adding electric vehicles to their fleet.  Buying EVs can be a big financial outlay and leasing is becoming a more attractive alternative for many," he said.

Manins cites recent Ministry of Transport findings revealing a higher number of private individuals own EVs, as opposed to companies, and currently EV ownership is most prevalent in Auckland.

But he predicts this will change over time. “Progressive companies are looking at being sustainable and making a positive environmental and social impact. EVs fit the bill in those areas, as well as providing tax advantages," he said.

According to Manins, with EV charging networks being available throughout 88% of New Zealand, and indications that an EV will soon be able to be charged at one of those stations within just 15 minutes, business commuters have reduced range anxiety and more viable options for getting to destinations.

“We are expecting to see a big line-up of EV releases in the local market in the next five years. This will be a game-changer with increased mileage of some vehicles reaching 400km and purchase prices dropping. Next year, for example the Tesla Model 3 will be available, and the cost won’t be much more than purchasing an imported model of the latest Nissan Leaf.”

Manins says many businesses are set to embrace a greater choice of vehicles, improved driving ranges and more competitive options for buying or leasing.

“Kiwis are feeling the impact of increased fuel costs, a pressing issue this year. Drivers who transition to an EV from an internal combustion engine vehicle could also save on annual servicing which amounts to about $400, as well as fuel and taxes which add up in the long term.”

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