The largest 100 per cent electric car-sharing scheme in the Southern Hemisphere has been wheeled out in Christchurch today.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern helped launch the Yoogo Share initiative that has been adopted by Christchurch City Council and will put a pure EV fleet of 100 cars, 10 hubs and 100 chargers around the rebuilding city.
Twelve key businesses with 3000 drivers are already working with the Yoogo Share cars, and removing 115 combustion engine vehicles from their fleets.
Membership will open to private users next month.
Users can pick up a car at a Yoogo Share hub and, when finished, drop it back and plug it in to charge.
Yoogo chief executive David Jenkinson said the technology is a cost-effective alternative to company cars, rental cars, taxis and even private ownership.
"Imagine landing at Christchurch airport on business, just one minute walk to your Yoogo Share car, which you access via your membership card or phone. At less than $15 an hour to drive a new BMW i3 or Hyundai Ioniq – it's a no brainer," he said.
"While electric vehicles are increasing in popularity, they can be challenging to adopt because of the extra cost of the vehicles, not to mention costs for chargers and installation. Sharing is a great way to enable the benefits of an EV without the hassle or cost."
In addition to helping Kiwi businesses "go green", the Yoogo Share offering also appeals to millennials, who are increasingly choosing public transport and rideshare services over car ownership.
Canterbury University student Matthew Knight, who has been working closely with Yoogo Share, says the idea of having all care no responsibility access to a pure EV has huge appeal to his peer group.
"As a student the last thing you want is to have to fork out for a car that's going to need costly maintenance," he said.
"We still want the freedom to get around – and with Yoogo Share we've got access to a cool, new and sustainable option that's more cost effective than taxis or Uber."
Yoogo Share has active hubs at Christchurch Art Gallery car park, West End carpark, Christchurch International Airport, Fendalton and Papanui. Lyttelton, the University of Canterbury, Ara Institute, The Crossing and The Terrace will get hubs over the coming weeks and months.
In May last year, Europcar and Volkswagen New Zealand teamed up with Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports to offer corporate travellers free electric cars to travel between business meetings.
The keys are collected at the Europcar desk and the cars are picked up from, and dropped back to, prime parking spots outside the terminals.
The initiative was aimed at "normalising" the cutting-edge technology and testing the public's desire to go electric.