As better battery technology is lowering the cost and boosting the range of passenger electric vehicles (EVs), those advances are making electrification of heavy vehicles more appealing.
“Changing from diesel buses and trucks to electric tackles the air quality issues of central cities, as well as reducing carbon emissions,” says Liz Yeaman, EECA’s Transport Development Manager. “It’s good news for the millions who live and work in big cities.”
There have already been three project launches part-funded by the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by EECA. Two projects, one with Auckland University of Technology and one with Auckland Transport, put electric buses on the road in Auckland; the third, by Waste Management Ltd, is a workshop to convert diesel trucks to electric.
The workshop plans to convert 20 of our national truck fleet in the next two years. The first conversion is almost completed and the truck will be used to collect waste from Auckland Hospital. In addition, the workshop is also open to other companies looking to transform their vehicles into EVs.
“Our investment in the EV workshop will create a knowledge centre for EV conversion in New Zealand and will help us move towards our long-term goal of a fleet of fully electric vehicles,” said Tom Nickels, Waste Management Managing Director.
“Our conversion partner EMOSS in the Netherlands has provided the kitsets and knowledge for our team to start completing conversions here in Auckland. We are also looking forward to helping other New Zealand businesses convert their fleets for a more sustainable future.”
Medium-sized electric trucks are expected in the market later this year. Fuzo NZ said last September it plans to begin testing their box body eCanter on New Zealand roads in the third-quarter.
“Others will follow,” says Yeaman. “Nearly 80 per cent of all freight movements are within regions so there’s heaps of scope to go electric.”
As heavy electric vehicles are exempt from road user charges until they make up 2 per cent of the heavy vehicle fleet, owners of trucks and buses should have a hard look at electric options for their next vehicle purchase, she says.