When did Meridian start their EV initiative and what is Meridian’s involvement with EVs in New Zealand?

Meridian Energy started on their EV journey in 2016 by partnering with Kiwi Properties to allow free electric vehicle charging at four shopping malls around New Zealand (Sylvia Park, Lynn Mall, The Plaza and Northlands).  

The 100% renewable energy company who has always been committed to protecting the environment, also partnered with Wellington-based electric car sharing company Mevo. Meridian provides the electricity to Mevo which powers these vehicles. The company has also signed up to Mevo’s service and their Wellington-based staff are utilising this low emission transport option.

This year, Meridian decided to take this one step further and has committed to converting 50% of its fleet to electric vehicles by mid-2018.

Neal Barclay, GM of Retail and Drive Electric Board member says,

“Meridian’s role is to demonstrate the benefits of going electric. We’re supporting our customers that drive EVs with sharp overnight charging rates, we’re helping provide vehicle charging infrastructure and we’re working with like-minded organisations to encourage more people to experience EVs”.

Reasons behind the introduction (or support?) of EVs?

The 100% renewable energy company has always been committed to protecting the environment and knows that one significant way New Zealand can make a difference by reducing fossil fuel use is to go electric with transport.

It’s widely accepted that electrifying transport is one of the big opportunities New Zealand has to reduce its emissions. With more than 80% of the country’s electricity coming from wind, water and geothermal it’s only natural Meridian Energy, that generates electricity only from renewable sources, sees the opportunity to grow the use of New Zealand’s clean fuels.

The business case for converting our fleet to EVs was also compelling. While at the moment the purchase price of EVs is greater, when running costs and residual values are taken into account Meridian found that the budgeted Total Cost of Ownership of the forecast vehicle fleet (including 50% EVs) is roughly the same as the alternate fleet if we stayed with ICE vehicles.  So given the financials stack up, it became a no brainer to convert our passenger fleet through the normal vehicle renewal cycle to reduce carbon emissions.

How many EVs do Meridian have in their fleet? Are there plans for more?

Meridian currently has 8 EVs in our fleet but this number will be increasing to ensure that we’re able to hit our target of having 50% of our passenger fleet converted to EVs by the middle of next year.

What types of EV do Meridian have? How do these suit your needs?

Meridian currently has a combination of the new Hyundai IONIQ and second-generation Nissan Leafs. These cars suit our business needs at present as they are primarily used by our sales teams. We are looking into a range of options at the moment to convert some of our maintenance vehicles that we use around our windfarms and hydro stations into electric vehicles when the types of cars that we need become available on the New Zealand market.

How did employees react to the introduction (involvement with?) of EVs?

Meridian employees have been right behind the company converting to EVs. We’ve had people within the business heavily involved in the development of our strategy to allow us to commit to converting our passenger fleet to 50% of EVs by the middle of next year.

We’ve held ‘Meet Sparky’ days which have allowed Meridian staff to try out our EVs and the reaction from staff has been overwhelmingly positive.

Have you had any reaction or feedback from customers or the public?

Our reaction from customers about Meridian’s EV journey has been very positive. We’ve got a number of customers who are already using Meridian’s Rest Easy EV plan and we’ve had a number of requests to roll this plan out in other centres around the country.

We have just recently launched ‘Jeremy’s Power Trip’ on social media, along with a customer competition to win an EV and we’ve received great engagement.

It is pleasing to see the growing knowledge of New Zealander’s about the benefits that EVs can bring in terms of New Zealand being able to reduce its carbon emissions.

What are Meridian’s future plans in the EV space?

At Meridian, we’ve just started on our EV journey but we’re always looking at ways that we can make things easier for our customers.

We believe our role is to demonstrate the benefits of going electric. We’re supporting our customers that drive EVs with sharp overnight charging rates, we’re helping provide vehicle charging infrastructure and we’re working with like-minded organisations to encourage more people to experience EVs.

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