In a move towards pollution-free driving and significantly reduced emissions council has agreed to increase the number of electric vehicles in its corporate vehicle fleet. Other electric vehicles will be purchased when they are due to be replaced or when viable electric vehicles are available for 4WD utility vehicles required for emergency management response and some council activities. Investment in further charging infrastructure has also been approved to support the transition to electric vehicles.
At the same time council will make efficiency improvements to its vehicle fleet through a number of initiatives including pooling more cars to reduce the overall number of vehicles in the fleet. This will contribute to savings over time.
Manager of Sustainability and Resilience Jörn Scherzer says that electric vehicles play a key role in reducing emissions in the wider sector with mobile emissions from transport alone already responsible for nearly fifty percent of Lower Hutt city-wide emissions.
“We are proactively looking at ways to reduce emissions as this is a key mitigating strategy to offset the worst forecast impacts of climate change. The decision by council to electrify the vehicle fleet is an important milestone,” says Scherzer.
“Electric vehicles will be the first choice when we are replacing our corporate fleet. As well as savings from lower fuel costs and less servicing charges for each vehicle, CO2 emissions will reduce by 80% compared to a conventional vehicle. This is better for the environment and contributes fewer carbon emissions over the full life-cycle of a vehicle compared with petrol vehicles.
“Staff will also be encouraged to consider ride sharing, booking an e-bike, using public transport more frequently or cycling for shorter work trips.
“Early next year we are starting work on a zero carbon plan for the whole city. This will be one of the key ways we can give effect to the climate emergency council declared in late June,” says Scherzer.
Other work under development that will see reduced carbon emissions includes an energy plan for all council facilities, council owned property company Urban Plus Limited switching from natural gas to using electricity for more than 100 dwellings it’s planning to build over the next two years, and ensuring any new buildings or refurbishments are designed to be energy efficient.