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Green MP launches electric car share initiative in Auckland

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Chloe Swarbrick launched 25 electric car share vehicles in Auckland today. Driving change with Ben Carter, GM Cityhop car share, Chloe learned how back to base car share radically reduces car ownership, encouarges modal shifts to resolve congestion issues and reduce emissions.

In six months Cityhop’s first10 electric vehicles were driven by 500 drivers who made 10,000 trips in six months.

At the launch Ben Carter issued a challenge to all those businesses with a fleet. As GM of New Zealand’s largest car-sharing business Cityhop, the millennial is encouraging all those talking about sustainability with CBD or city fringe offices and large fleets to walk the talk and choose some new mobility solutions.

He’s challenged every business by offering the chance to replace some fleet with car share cars or sign their staff up to Cityhop to encourage more mobility choice. It is a practical way to get better use, travel fewer vehicle kilometres and encourage more mobility alternatives.

Most fleets are parked most of the time and are a wasted asset. Many businesses still buy fleet for peak use. Smart businesses now use Cityhop instead and support their staff by giving them Cityhop memberships.

Ben, who has a Master of Science and an Ethics degree, says he’s over all the hype about cutting congestion and countering climate change by reducing carbon emissions - the place to start is with one less car.

"So many businesses use yesterday’s thinking, changing like for like. Climate action involves more than changing a petrol car to an EV. That’s not good enough. They need to change behaviour. They are more likely to achieve their sustainable targets by offering other mobility choices, like car share.

Auckland Council has declared a Climate Change Emergency and has put together the Auckland Climate Action Framework.

"The priority should be to remove vehicles not encourage more! No major city in the world is asking for more cars. We need to change behaviours to reduce congestion, road trauma AND emissions. "We can do something right now and it’s not hard. Start with the fleet!

"If businesses reduced their fleet size some immediate gains would be made. Round trip car share is the only proven tool to both reduce car ownership and increase public transport and walking and cycling.

Every Cityhop takes 9 to 15 cars off the road. Less cars owned and a change of behaviour means less traffic, less emissions and a more livable city. After joining Cityhop the average member drives 2,000km less. This means our members cut CO2 by 1,000,000kg every year!

"One simple action businesses and local government could act on is to support and encourage reduction in car ownership and use round trip car share. The more cars added to car share, the better chance of reducing individual cars. And the more likely the increase of a mode shift to public and shared transport.

Car sharing, where you rent vehicles by the hour, is the obvious way to go for the generation of Aucklanders that is both concerned about emissions and interested in saving money on car parks and car ownership.

"There are no rewards for good behaviour like living without a car or one less car. There’s a lot of hype about subsidies for EV cars. But EVs are out of reach for most people. When you rent a car by the hour, anybody can afford to drive, even an EV, says Ben.

Already around 500 people have used the 10 EVs Cityhop bought in the last six months and 10,000 trips have covered 100,000 kilometres.

"Another great thing, when people join car share programmes, they drive less as they realise they don’t actually need to own a car and they depend more on public transport. They pick and choose what works best - maybe take a bike, bus, train, scooter or walking when that’s easy."

Good to know, there are Cityhop car shares for every reason from small cars to SUVs, so that any journey an Aucklander wants to take can be catered for. It even has vans for people wanting to shift flat, dog hammocks for pet lovers and car seats for children.

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