Blog Archives

The EV that charges itself

Dutch start-up, Lightyear have developed a solar-powered car that is able to be driven for months without charging.

The electric four-wheel drive car can handle rough terrain and has a battery range of 800 kilometres, charged by the sun.

“You can think of the Lightyear One as being a completely redesigned electric car combining the best of solar cars and electric cars.”, says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear.

“It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility. At night or on a cloudy day the Lightyear One can drive up to 800 kilometres on a fully charged battery, depending on your battery configuration.”

The solar cells on the roof of the Lightyear One will generate enough power to recharge the battery during the day. The Dutch startup claims that in sunny climates the car would even be able to drive for months without charging.

Since the car doesn’t depend on charging points, it is well suited for areas with a lack of charging stations.

“The Lightyear One is a statement to show that electric cars are ready for every corner of the planet”, Hoefsloot clarifies. “It is the first step in our mission to make electric cars available for everyone”.

The entire Lightyear team

There will be a limited number of models produced. The final design and details will be released early this year.

Pricing will begin at around 119,000 Euros, with 15 cars already reserved and paid for.

First deliveries are expected in 2019 throughout the EU.

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Jucy’s electric campervans

Thousands of international tourists visiting NZ could be driving electric campervans within two years following a new electric vehicle (EV) trial.

Two French eco tourists will take part in a trial which will see them travelling thousands of kilometres throughout the North Island in a prototype Jucy campervan powered only by electricity.

The objective of the trial is to help convert one of the country’s largest rental campervan fleets to electric power within the next two years – something the company’s owner says will help position NZ as a sustainable tourist market.

Jucy CEO, Tim Alpe says the company aims to introduce a new category of electric vehicle to its fleet to meet growing demand from millennial tourists.

“Electric vehicles are the future of the Jucy campervan fleet and this trial is the ideal platform to test our product offering for customers,

“This market segment in particular want more environmentally sustainable travel options, at the same time this gives our tourists more choice and cheaper running costs,” says Alpe.

Paris Sorbonne University environmental law student Heloise de Bokay says tourism is becoming less sustainable which is why they wanted a more eco friendly mode of transport to explore NZ.

“Electric cars are a more sensible solution in your country as more than 80 percent of your energy comes from renewable sources – compared to only 22 percent in France,” she says.

Alpe says further expansion of the programme will need additional investment in charging infrastructure and vehicles that can travel further distances.

Dan Alpe, chief operating officer of Jucy.

Campervans are the perfect vehicle to be electrically powered as tourists tend to drive during the day and can then recharge overnight at their campground.

“One of the biggest barriers we will face in the short term is lack of infrastructure to support EV charging.

“We are working with camping grounds to introduce suitable facilities for overnight charging but there is also a need to bring in rapid chargers on the roads between main centres.

“At the same time, there are range limitations of the vehicles that need to be overcome to ensure tourists can travel long distances across the country, without the need to constantly recharge their battery.

“Our future as a sustainable tourist market will be short lived if our customer experience is impacted by the range their vehicle can travel each day,” he says.

Alpe says the company plans to introduce charging stations at their branches as well as Jucy Snooze hotels across NZ and Australia.

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Most climate-friendly car manufacturers

BMW, Daimler and Toyota are the most climate-friendly car manufacturers, according to The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an international non-profit organisation, while Japanese car maker Subaru came bottom of the list.

The CDP ranked responses from 16 manufacturers on their progress towards three key goals: meeting regulatory emissions standards, strategies on using self-driving technology and renewable energy, and management incentives to lower carbon emissions.

CDP’s summary League Table – Source CDP

Paul Simpson, CEO of CDP commented: “The auto sector is the poster child for the future of industry as we know it. Tech and software disrupters have forced this high-emitting industry to innovate at a pace faster than it perhaps feels comfortable with. It is promising to see traditional carmakers step up to the mark to meet global shifts in demand for EVs. Only time will tell if new market entrants such as Uber and Google will alter consumer demands in the long-term. Regardless, auto manufacturers should quickly adopt new business models to ensure their survival in the low-carbon transition.”

Electric vehicles could become as affordable as traditional petrol and diesel cars as soon as 2022 and a third of new cars sales are expected to be zero emissions and plug-in hybrid by 2030, CDP predicted. That would translate to a market worth around $1 trillion market, based on the organisation’s figures.

Car companies are already making big investments into new technologies, with around $11bn spent buying up autonomous and shared vehicle companies, including Lyft, in the last two years.

But CDP said more still needs to be done to ensure companies keep up with the pace of change required, and governance and remuneration structures need to be more closely aligned with the low carbon transition.

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Take care when advertising EVs

The VIA’s latest announcement reminds all dealers that when selling an electric vehicle (EV), the “State of Health” is by far the most accurate way of measuring battery condition.

The bar display on the vehicle is only an indicator, and should not be promoted in advertising – a print-out of the battery’s State of Health should be used instead.

In a recent case, a dealer advertised a Nissan Leaf showing a photo of the battery condition indicator with 12 bars, but made no other mention of battery condition. 

The buyer found he couldn’t travel the distance he expected, and rejected the vehicle. A check showed that the battery health was significantly lower than would be expected with 12 bars.

The Tribunal found that the photo of the indicator, which the buyer had relied on, was misleading, and upheld the rejection.

For any questions on this or any issues relating to EVs, please contact VIA Technical Manager Malcolm Yorston on 0800 VIA VIA (842 842) or email

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Record set by Fuso NZ

Fuso New Zealand has topped their previous record by more than 20 per cent, registering 1,017 units in 2017.

The company achieved a 17.6 per cent share of the market – a huge 99.8 per cent increase on its 2016 position.

Managing Director Kurtis Andrews

“We didn’t head out to set the world on fire,” said managing director Kurtis Andrews.

“Our main goal for the year was to develop a business that would allow Fuso trucks to realise their potential in New Zealand – thanks to our highly experienced and passionate dealer network, the foundation was already in place.”

“There has been a massive amount of work put in at Fuso NZ, and by our dealers, to build our team and operations from the ground up, so to sell 1,017 trucks against that background is testament to the effort that went in and the potential the business has.

“A lot of credit has to go to the excellent work that has gone in at every level at our dealerships across the country.”

Putting the result into perspective, the average annual sales of the brand over the preceding five years was 540 units, with the previous sales record of 787 set in 2014.

“We now carry over 8,000 stock items in our parts inventory. Previously, only around 3,000 Fuso parts were available off the shelf in New Zealand; anything else had to be air-freighted, which often lead to unsatisfactory delays. Our off-the-shelf parts order fill rate is now at 96%.”

2018 offers some exciting opportunities for Fuso NZ.

“Now we’re set up, we’re in a position to focus on selling trucks and continuing to deliver better for our customers. We’ve got some exciting products landing in 2018, and we’re all pretty excited about the opportunities they’ll bring.”

Fuso truck shoot. Mangere Bridge. AUCKLAND.

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Charging while shopping

Milk, bread and a side of electricity will soon become normal practice at more supermarkets in the Foodstuffs New Zealand network.

Foodstuffs has recently secured funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund to roll out a number of new Electric Vehicles (EV) charging stations throughout New Zealand.

Steve Anderson, Managing Director Foodstuffs New Zealand, says, “Our business has made some astounding progress on a number of environmental issues to reduce waste, plastic and energy consumption. We were delighted to install the first charging station in Christchurch in 2017 – and this project shows just how committed we are to helping New Zealanders reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.”

“Our winning bid is in partnership between ChargeNet NZ, Foodstuffs New Zealand and the two co-operatives; Foodstuffs North Island and Foodstuffs South Island. Our owner-operators fully support this initiative. Their customers can charge their electric vehicles while they shop which is convenient, time-saving and planet-friendly.”

ChargeNet NZ Chief Executive, Steve West says, “As EVs become more mainstream in coming years, having chargers located at supermarkets will be part of everyday life. ChargeNet NZ has opened a number of fast charge stations in partnership with various electricity suppliers, site owners and BMW. A fast charger typically charges an EV in around 20 to 30 minutes. EV owners need to open an account at to be able to use the charger.”

The EV chargers will be rolled out over the coming months at the supermarkets listed below:

North Island

  • New World Havelock North
  • New World Kawerau
  • New World Levin
  • New World Matamata
  • New World Mt Maunganui
  • New World Morrinsville
  • New World Ohakune
  • New World Stratford
  • New World Taihape
  • New World Tokoroa
  • New World Waihi
  • Four Square National Park
  • Four Square Opononi
  • Four Square Pirongia
  • PAK’nSAVE Kaitaia

South Island

  • New World Gore
  • New World Hokitika
  • New World Kaikoura
  • New World Mosgiel
  • New World Motueka
  • New World Nelson
  • New World Temuka
  • New World Westport
  • Four Square Havelock
  • Four Square Karamea
  • Four Square Reefton
  • Four Square SpringCreek
  • PAK’nSAVE Blenheim
  • PAK’nSAVE Queenstown
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Exciting news for MITO

MITO has received funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund which will help towards the development of a qualification framework for the safe inspection, servicing and repair work of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand.

The exciting announcement was made yesterday by Energy and Resources Minister Hon Megan Woods.

MITO Chief Executive Janet Lane says “MITO is absolutely delighted to have received this funding. The Fund encourages innovation and investment to accelerate the uptake of EV and low-emission vehicles in New Zealand. Critical to this is developing the human infrastructure required for the safe inspection, servicing and repair of EV vehicles, balancing the required physical infrastructure. We are sincerely grateful for this co-investment.”

EV’s lithium batteries.

The funding of $95,000 will enable industry-wide access to training provisions and qualifications for EVs by 2019.

Central to the project will be international research and evaluation of qualification design, content, structure and delivery models in order to understand and capitalise on previous experiences of other countries.

“This project will benefit the public,” says Ms Lane. “It will ensure consumers have choice when purchasing inspection, servicing and repair services for their EV, which, in turn, will drive value for money and increase consumer confidence.”

In addition, access to a qualification framework for the automotive workforce will allow businesses to respond to an increasingly rapid pace of change.

“This is a strategy necessary for strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the automotive industry.”

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Mercedes goes online

Mercedes-Benz believes that 25 per cent of its new and used vehicles sales will be completed online by 2022.

Britta Seeger

“In digital, we want to offer even more in the future and a different experience, and we are aiming to offer this in a seamless way,” Mercedes global sales boss, Britta Seeger said.

“In order to drive this journey, this is a huge effort that we together with our dealers have to undertake.”

Mercedes is working with its dealers to develop new platforms to engage customers, some of whom might not be the typical Mercedes-Benz buyer.

Seeger described Mercedes Me stores that have opened around the globe in places such as busy urban districts and airports. The company also has operated pop-up shops for short periods of time.

“The customer or prospect or just somebody who wants to drop by is taken into a Mercedes world without a feeling of Autohaus,” she said. “This is very much appreciated. We have excellent results from the customers. They just love to come.”

Mercedes also is entering electric racing series Formula E.

“This is important,” Seeger said. “We want to go where the customer is.”

Mercedes will continue to build on the strengths of its core business, she said. The brand just completed its second straight year of leadership in luxury sales both globally and in the U.S. market. 

“We truly believe this is a huge chance for us,” Seeger said. “We have to be fast. We have to have the right mindset.”

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Unique EV ridesharing service

Auckland Transport is trialling an electric vehicle (EV) ridesharing service between commuters’ homes and the Devonport ferry.

Devonport ferry – Visit Devonport

The scheme aims to encourage more people to use the ferry and the vehicles will operate within a 3km radius of the ferry terminal, primarily in the morning and afternoon peak.

Devonport has been chosen as the location of the trial due to it’s unique geography in which the only ways in and out are on the ferry to the city centre or along the heavily congested Lake Road.

The move is also being applauded by Drive Electric.

The not-for-profit group supports the trial as it shows Auckland Transport is doing their bit to promote sustainable solutions.

“Ridesharing has a part to play in making public transport more accessible for commuters,” Drive Electric deputy chair Duncan Stewart says.

“The fact that Auckland Transport has chosen to source electric vehicles for the trial illustrates it is looking at possible ways to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.”

The ride-sharing service will allow customers to use a smartphone app to schedule or call an on-demand electric vehicle to take them to and from the Devonport Ferry Terminal and their destination.

“Commuters are more likely to use the service if it’s convenient. Being able to easily book a ride through an app just makes sense,” says Stewart.

Stewart hopes AT’s decision might encourage other public and private sector organisations to consider using EVs for commercial purposes.

 “More and more organisations are adopting electric vehicles for everything from grocery deliveries to rubbish collection these days. This continues the trend.”

The start date is expected to be mid-2018.


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$3.74 million for new EVs in NZ

More electric vehicles will be on New Zealand’s roads with funding announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan woods today.

Hon Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods announced a $3.74 million fund for 20 projects in the third round of the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund, administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

“These exciting projects include a 58 tonne fully electric truck to be used by CODA in Hamilton to shuttle Fonterra’s dairy goods to the railway,” Dr Woods said.

“Projects like this are vital to show others in the heavy logistics and transport industry that electric trucks are not only viable but have very low running costs.”

Dr Woods said $1.7m of the funding would help fill gaps in the country’s charging infrastructure.

One project aims to ‘plug the gaps’ in the North Island fast charging infrastructure and will see a fast charger installed at 15 supermarket locations including Kawerau, Matamata, National Park, and Pirongia.

Funding was also going towards tourism opportunities such as electric camper-vans.

“The projects we are funding show there’s an EV for almost every job or use in New Zealand, be it delivering fruit and veg or taking a holiday.”

Also announced was a Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) project to develop a qualifications framework for technicians working on electric vehicles. Currently, there is no NZQA-registered qualification or national standard for this work.

To read a summary of the successful third round projects Click Here.

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Luxury car dealer lands in Christchurch

Dutton Garage has opened its first New Zealand showroom in Christchurch.

The Dutton Garage in Christchurch

Dutton Garage is an Australian automotive institution supplying some of the rarest and most collectible cars to the world. 

The luxury and classic car dealership boasts an extensive collections of classic vehicles from some of the world’s most exotic manufacturers, including New Zealand’s largest group of Ferraris.

They also use no brokers so there is no middle man.

The dealership is locally owned by Royden Mauger who has worked for the Dutton brand as a buyer for over 20 years but has now taken on the challenge of bringing the brand to New Zealand.

Mauger told that when he was offered the chance of setting up a Dutton car dealership in New Zealand he chose Christchurch over Auckland. 

Not only was it his home town, but it has the best classic car culture in the country, he said.

“In a business sense it doesn’t matter where I am. It’s global. We’d have the biggest collection of classic and luxury cars in the country. We can source them from anywhere and deliver them anywhere,” Mauger continued.

The showroom will have an official opening later this summer.


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