Plug pulled on car scheme

Auckland Transport has backed out of an electric car scheme for the city.
The agency had hoped to secure a company to provide up to 300 plug-in hybrid vehicles. Of nine applicants, only two were shortlisted and in the end, all prospective companies were rejected, including ride-sharing service Cityhop.

The project was planned to transform transport options in Auckland, while cutting emissions, but Auckland Transport’s strategic development group manager Chris Morgan says none of the applicants met the three minimum requirements.

These included supporting the ‘last mile’ to and from public transport and working with pedestrians and cyclists.

Morgan said some suppliers came with a “heap of electric vehicles” and met Auckland Transport’s ‘last mile’ objectives but required a subsidy from AT to operate. Some suppliers didn’t require a subsidy but would have struggled to supply the number of EVs required.

He says the goal of between 200 and 300 electric cars was “aspirational”, and it is expected that the successful bidder will roll-out the number of vehicles it considers “commercially viable” over time.

A public transport advocate says the agency should have settled for a fleet of conventional petrol-fuelled cars, and then transitioned to electric cars.

“We want to aim for an all-electric car share, but it’s more important to get a functioning car share scheme.”