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Episode 1: Transport

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Oct 2021, 8:18AM

Episode 1: Transport

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 13 Oct 2021, 8:18AM

Most people can agree that tackling climate change is one of the biggest issues we’ll face in our lifetimes.

But it can seem impossible to work out how we can each do our part.  Is it using a keep cup?  Is it eating less meat?

In reality, one of the biggest parts of the puzzle for Kiwis, is addressing our transport emissions.  They make up over 40% of our human carbon emissions, and we’ve got the highest car-ownership rate in the OECD.  Kiwis love their cars.

Luckily, there are some exciting local companies who’re here to help us to tackle our reliance on zipping around in our personal cars.  Kirsten Corson is the CEO of Zilch, an EV car-sharing company that gives anyone the opportunity to borrow an electric vehicle and just drop it off when we're finished with it.  They’re also helping businesses establish EV car-sharing fleets for their employees.  Kirsten says it’s easy for Kiwis to think we can’t make a difference to climate change.  But she says a third of global emissions come from small countries like ours, so we have a significant role to play.  Kirsten’s business is all about making it easier to do our bit.  “It’s really hard for people to transition to electric vehicles when you think about the higher cost of the car and charging infrastructure.  So we’re the only car-sharing business that has all pure electric vehicles in its fleet.  So it’s a cost-effective and a really easy way to be able to transition to an electric vehicle without all the hassle and the cost.”

According to Kirsten, we’re making a billion and a half car trips a year.  A third of those, are two kilometres or less.  She reckons a huge proportion of those could be replaced with walking, scootering, or using car-share services like Zilch.  But journeys that are a little longer, present a different set of challenges.  One of the most common concerns people have with EVs is ‘range anxiety’ – or being sure you’re going to find enough charging stations to finish your journey.  

That's where another Kiwi company called ChargeNet comes in.  They've been installing high-speed chargers up and down the country.  CEO Steve West says it began when he brought the first Tesla Model S into the country and wanted to show it off way back in 2015.  He fast worked out that New Zealand needed a public network of chargers, which is what he went about arranging.  He thinks it’s made a huge difference.  “People have a list of reasons to not go electric. They usually start with things like the price, but if you can get past that, then there’s the objection of ‘well I’ve got nowhere to charge it’.  I think we’ve solved that for people with 270 stations”.

To hear more about Kiwi companies like Zilch and ChargeNet, listen to episode one of Footprints, thanks to Goodman Property.

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