Meridian Energy has already converted 30 per cent of its fleet to electric vehicles.
By the middle of next year, Meridian Energy plans to have converted half of its passenger fleet to electric. While it’s a logical decision for a company that’s committed to renewable energy and protecting the environment, it wasn’t made without an in-depth analysis that showed there was as much business value, as there was environmental.
As procurement manager for Meridian, Nick Robilliard has an insider’s view into how the company’s fleet works, but says that even he was surprised when the data started coming in showing how feasible converting a significant portion of the fleet could be.
“In the six months we have been on this journey, we have done things we didn’t think we could have 12 months ago,” he says.
Nick Robillard says Meridian is committed to guiding customers and other businesses through a fleet change to not only help balance the books, but help the country reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
More than 80 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity comes from the renewable wind, water and geothermal energy. Consequently, running an electric vehicle (EV) on average generates 80 per cent fewer CO2 emissions when compared with a petrol car. That means each EV on the road takes three tonnes of carbon gases from the environment each year. That, along with the fact they are significantly cheaper to run, makes a compelling argument for making the switch. However, common misconceptions have complicated the uptake of EVs for many businesses.
But thanks to across-the-board installation of GPS for safety reasons, Meridian had exactly the data it needed from each vehicle’s journey, to show that conversion was not only possible, but profitable. The most common misconception was that many of its vehicles covered far more kilometres in a single trip than battery power could cover.
A growing number of charging stations around the country, and a commitment by government to keep up the expansion, means longer trips can be done with confidence. Battery range in new vehicles is improving constantly and Meridian has partnered with Hyundai to introduce the fully-electric Hyundai IONIQ to help electrify the fleet. With a range of over 200km, it satisfies most of its travel needs.
Robilliard says some changes have been made to accommodate the switch. It became clear the company had more vehicles than it needed, so by downsizing it could free up resources to help fund the change.
“We looked at driver habits and put more effort into planning trips. There are definitely some people who thought EVs were not going to work for them. But in actual fact, the range of the vehicles we use, along with some charging along the way, meant it was completely manageable and people didn’t feel like their day was being inconvenienced.”
Drivers need rest stops to keep alert, so having to stop after 150 kilometres to recharge the car has an associated safety benefit to it.
“Whenever you make changes there are things that have to be adapted,” says Robilliard. “That’s true whether it’s a new building, or vehicles. Anything you do differently requires some changes.”
Robilliard says that’s exactly what Meridian wants to do – guiding customers and other businesses through a fleet change that makes sense when it comes to balancing the books, and is capable of helping New Zealand dramatically reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
“It’s an exciting story to tell, and comes out on the right side of the ledger.”
Meridian Energy can help you electrify your fleet, visit www.meridianenergy.co.nz for more information. Additionally, watch Jeremy Well’s Power Trip and be in to win your own Hyundai IONIQ electric vehicle at www.powertrip.meridianenergy.co.nz.
– Sponsored content