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Kerikeri seniors power up for local travel

Kerikeri’s first fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) will soon be zipping around town. In a ground-breaking move for the New Zealand retirement sector, Kerikeri Retirement Village is to buy one Kia Soul and three Nissan Leaf zero emission electric vehicles for use in a car-sharing initiative aimed at Village residents, as well as an additional EV for staff use.

The project is funded jointly and equally by the Kerikeri Village Trust and a $67,250 grant from the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

The first vehicle is due to arrive within the next month and the Village expects the fleet to be in place by 30 April this year.

Kerikeri Retirement Village chief executive Hilary Sumpter said electric car sharing made “all sorts of sense” for retirement village residents who typically travel short distances and who can have the option to no longer own and maintain a frequently under-used combustion-engine vehicle. Car-sharing is a way to reduce transport costs for residents and increase energy efficiency both in Kerikeri generally and specifically at the Village, where energy efficiency measures are being introduced in all new developments and in some of the existing infrastructure.

The fleet will be known as the Kerikeri Electric Vehicle Network for Seniors, or KEVNS.

“So people will be booking 'Kevins',” Ms Sumpter said. “A little Kevin, a big Kevin, Kevin number four, etcetera.”

Kerikeri Retirement Village will also install a ‘fast charge’ station for EVs. It is working with Northland Regional Council on the best siting for this. Ms Sumpter said the DC fast-charging unit would be available for general public use by 31 July this year.

“One of our aims is to support the growth of EV use in the Far North area, so we’ll do everything we can to encourage this.”

She said the Village hoped ultimately to expand the car-sharing operation to include non-residents. It has plans to grow the fleet and eventually replace its fleet of van and buses with EVs. 

Costs and logistics of the car-sharing initiative have yet to be worked out and the Village will meet with interested residents shortly to obtain initial input before implementing the service.

Click on photo to enlarge.



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