The EVs and charging stations are owned and maintained by Yoogo, a global fleet sharing company. Yoogo established hubs around Christchurch following a high profile event with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially launching the scheme in February this year. It is the country’s first fully battery powered electric car sharing service.
Ara was among the first 11 signatories to sign up to the scheme, along with the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, Canterbury District Health Board, Beca, Warren and Mahoney and Tonkin and Taylor. Christchurch is the first city in New Zealand – and one of the few cities internationally – with such a service.
The EVs will complement Ara’s fleet cars for work-related use. They will also be available to staff and students for private use at affordable rates. Rates can be charged by the minute, hour or day, with overnight and weekend rates also available. All bookings and payment are made through the Yoogo online platform.
The EV hub agreement was an outcome of the Ara Sustainability Charter, demonstrating the institute’s commitment to sustainability and willingness to support an innovative new city-wide initiative that will reduce carbon emissions and encourage sustainable travel.
The city council estimates it will save an estimated 45 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year through using shared EVs.
A city-wide share scheme with linked hubs is on the horizon, but for now EVs taken from the Ara hub must be returned to the Ara hub. Shared car schemes have been trialled globally with positive results and an Auckland-based scheme is also in the pipeline.
Yoogo’s 100 EVs in Christchurch makes this the biggest pure electric car sharing initiative in the Southern Hemisphere. Anyone visiting Christchurch can also join the scheme and drive electric during their stay.