The transition to an electric fleet, our journey so far
7 March 2022
As a public agency with over 760 fleet vehicles, we recognise the importance of transitioning our vehicles to be fully electric by 2025 to help meet the Government’s target of a carbon neutral public sector.
Charging is an obvious consideration in making the transition to fully electric vehicles, however to best meet the needs of our people, we first needed to understand how and where they travel—the short answer is, in many different ways!
With such a variety of roles and locations across the country, we found that some of our people spend the majority of their time out in the community, while others are in and out of the office. In addition, most of our vehicles are kept at private residences outside of work.
So while office charging was a given, we also needed to understand what role home charging may play in our transition and how this could work. Our pilot therefore involved both office and home charging.
Given home charging was new ground for us, we put the call out for volunteers keen to learn alongside the project team as to how to best make the transition to a fully electric vehicle with priority given to those with homes that met our suitability assessment (off-street parking and access to a power source etc).
Our initial home charging pilot included 24 people across 17 locations. Over a couple of months, we engaged regularly with the group to build knowledge around charger and electric vehicle use. All participants were required to supply information and sign an agreement to enable the install, with installations managed effectively between our supplier and a number of subcontractors. Our choice of ‘smart’ charger meant that KwHrs are monitored enabling reimbursement through our internal financing system. To date we have installed 25 home charging stations and initial feedback has been very positive.
One of our pilot participants Darryl, Senior Advisor Health and Safety, has successfully completed a daily distance of up to 700km with only two charges of 30-40 minutes needed. He says, “I’ve been really impressed by the distances that I’m able to travel between charges, which does require a bit more forward planning on long trips. I like to make sure I’ve always got a couple of hundred kilometres up my sleeve and that I have a Plan B when using public chargers, just in case.”
Another of our trial participants, Operations Manager Sonja, said, “I’m now in my third month of driving the sassy, quiet and comfortable Hyundai Ioniq EV, and I’m impressed to have my own ‘petrol station’ in the garage. I tend to charge my car once a week, which gives me about 300km, and the cruise control is very smart, taking care of my safe gaps and keeping me within speed limits. For any sceptics let me tell you - take the leap, you won’t regret it, and how cool to be doing your little bit for the environment too!
The next step for Kāinga Ora is to refine our processes for providing home chargers. This involves creating evidence-based guidance around its use as a charging solution, and if a viable option, ensuring our processes support a smooth roll out across the organisation.
- Kāinga Ora has more than 760 fleet vehicles spread across 47 offices, with highly varied levels of daily usage.
- Around 86% of our corporate vehicle fleet is made up of allocated vehicles. These vehicles often reside outside of workhours at a private residence, which impacts charging requirements.
- We have a number of property leasing arrangements to consider, as electric vehicles must be supported by appropriate charging infrastructure.
Estimated carbon savings:
- Replacement of 24 petrol vehicles with fully electric vehicles will save us an estimated ~208 T carbon over three years, equal to around 3,250 Auckland to Wellington flights.
- Talk to other agencies – government agencies are all working to achieve the same goal, and there is great benefit in sharing resources, challenges and learnings. We have been communicating closely with Waka Kotahi to share knowledge, and their learnings have been invaluable.
- Ensure infrastructure is right-sized - understand your travel needs and vehicle use patterns e.g. a fast charger for an onsite pool car is likely unnecessary.
- Engage internal stakeholders early - this work involves many parts of the business (procurement, legal, facilities) so get chatting early.
- Leverage existing systems/policies - fleet policies already exist so consider how these can be used to help integrate electric vehicles into your fleet and where they may need to be adapted.
- People quickly adapt to new technologies, but do not underestimate the initial change support required – understand the learning needs and channels of your people, and as electric vehicle myths are alive and well, ensure you have a change and engagement plan in place. Hands on experience is key.
Note: At the time of writing (March 2022) Kāinga Ora received additional co-funding of nearly $1m from the State Sector Decarbonisation Fund, administered by EECA, to help decarbonise their vehicle fleet. This will allow them to transition another 28 vehicles over to electric, bringing their total to 90 electric vehicles with more to come.
Page updated: 7 March 2022