Eastland Group has announced a commitment to ensuring its non-commercial vehicle fleet is 75 percent electric by 2019.
Speaking at a customer Christmas function in Gisborne last night, chief executive Matt Todd said the company already owned five electric or hybrid vehicles, has three more fully electric vehicles on order and planned to increase that significantly as a part of its normal fleet replacement programme.
“We’ll look at the business need and see if we can find an electric vehicle to suit. If more range is required, we will buy a hybrid fuel/electric vehicle. Sometimes the business need will mean that no electric or hybrid option is available yet, but we realise technology is advancing rapidly and once commercial vehicles such as electric or hybrid utes and heavy trucks become available, our target then will be to switch an overall thirty percent of our entire fleet.”
The Gisborne based company is already investigating how regional New Zealand can take advantage of new energy technologies such as solar and battery storage.
Mr Todd says Eastland Group’s solar research trial – launched earlier in 2016 – is designed to help the company understand how consumers engage with emerging technologies and how they impact on Eastland Network, “so we can plan for the future with the best interests of our community in mind.”
“Likewise, our investment in electric and hybrid vehicles, and our planned installation of a regional charging network, will help Gisborne, Wairoa and the East Coast be among the first New Zealanders to take advantage of new energy technologies.
“As emerging energy technologies change the fundamentals of electricity supply and demand, we want to make sure the people of our region are at the forefront of this change.”
New Zealand has a unique opportunity to use its largely renewable electricity to displace imported fossil fuels to power our transport fleet and this comes with significant economic and environmental benefits for the country.
He said the company planned to engage with the Tairawhiti community early in 2017 to “share our knowledge in this emerging technology space and show you the information we are gathering and learning. We want everyone to know how and why electric vehicles make economic and environmental sense and how the region can save some serious money.”
- Watch video for a review of Eastland Group’s 2016 year.
- Eastland Group is the owner of Eastland Network, the electricity distribution network for Gisborne, Wairoa and the East Coast.
- Eastland Group owns a 19 percent stake in Flick Electric Co., the first New Zealand electricity company to use smart meter technology and proprietary software to give customers access to the real-time, wholesale costs of electricity.
- Through its subsidiary, Eastland Generation, Eastland Group also owns and operates the 9MW GDL geothermal power plant, and is currently building the 25MW Te Ahi O Maui geothermal power plant. Both plants are located on the Kawerau geothermal field.
PHOTO CAPTION: Three of Eastland Group’s Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles.