Free and subsidised e-vehicle sharing might change habits and how communities are designed.
The ŌCHT/Zilch Car Sharing e-car scheme and the ŌCHT/Big Street Bikers e-bike scheme were launched at the opening of Christchurch’s latest community housing development.
Energy Minister Megan Woods told the crowd at Hoiho Lane the two-year pilots were as innovative as they were exciting.
They would offer ŌCHT tenants cleaner, alternative forms of transport that many might otherwise find difficult to access.
They would be monitored to see if habits change, to see how pricing and availability affect use, and to see how EVs might work in a community housing context.
University researchers are also examining transport choices.
Tenants have access to two Nissan Leafs. The cars are provided by ŌCHT and the scheme is managed by Zilch Car Sharing. Their use is subsidised by ŌCHT.
ŌCHT is also providing five e-bikes in the ŌCHT/Big Street Bikers (BSB) free e-bike scheme.
The bikes are free for tenants to use and are based at Locky Docks supplied and managed by BSB. BSB also manages the bike share scheme.
The pilots have co-funding from the Government’s Low Emissions Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority.
The fund is one of a range of initiatives in the Government’s Electric Vehicles Programme, which aims to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand.
New Zealand had a lot of work to do as it prepared for a decarbonised future. New thinking was needed – including considering the place of clean transport in new community housing developments, Mrs Woods said.
ŌCHT chief executive Cate Kearney said the initiative was and incredibly exciting chance to learn how EVs might work in community housing.
The projects are the first of their kind in New Zealand and might lead to changes in the way transport is factored into community housing development.
They might provide insights as to how many car parks are made, how much hard surface is laid, and how many more homes and gardens might be possible in an EV future.
“It’s the first of its kind in New Zealand but I think it should be everywhere,” Ms Kearney said.
An education programme will run alongside the schemes. Familiarisation sessions are hosted by Better New Zealand Trust EV ambassador Will Henderson and BSB.
The e-cars and e-bikes are based at Karoro Lane, another new ŌCHT community next door to Hoiho Lane.
The lanes are part of the three-community Brougham St development.