New Zealand King Salmon is going electric in its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impact and lead the way in sustainable business practices.

The first of its fleet of company lease cars has been replaced with an Electric Vehicle (EV), with the aim of eventually phasing all its petrol cars out.

NZ King Salmon Environmental Certifications Project Manager Karen Mant says the aim of the EV project is to demonstrate leadership in the area of smart transport in the Top of the South, and beyond.

“By reducing NZ King Salmon’s dependence on fuel-powered vehicles, we will be reducing our carbon footprint, and also contributing to the company’s Sustainable Strategy.”

The first electric car to join the fleet is a new EV Hyundai Kona 5 door SUV, which has a greater range than older model EVs.

Two men with a silver electric Hyundai Kona car

Grant Rosewarne (left) with the company’s new electric vehicle – a Hyundai Kona – and Chris Bowater from Bowater Hyundai

The EV was test driven in October 2018, thanks to NZ King Salmon’s partners Bowater Hyundai in Nelson, and after a few teething problems with charging, the main comments from users was that the engine is so quiet that they were not sure if the car was turned on or not.

The EV project has been in the works for some time, says Karen, with all aspects carefully considered before the decision was made to adopt an EV. Of particular importance were cost, the availability and time requirements of charging stations and the significant distances that NZKS team members generally drive across the Top of the South, in often isolated areas.

These considerations led to the project stalling in late 2017, says Karen, as no EV was available with sufficient range to suit team members’ needs.

“We did a couple of test drives of vehicles in March 2018 with the EV Hyundai Iconic as well as the Hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander, in conjunction with our vehicle partners. However, neither suited our sustainability business requirements, or safety range of 400km plus to feel comfortable that our team members would arrive at their destination safely, and be able to return.”

Thanks to rapidly evolving EV technology, in October this year the EV Hyundai Kona met those requirements and had become available.

The Kona can be charged at a station using a key system at NZ King Salmon’s Nelson and Picton offices. In future, a shared charging station, which can be used by NZ King Salmon partners as well, could be installed, however, at this stage it is not financially viable.

The Kona’s performance will be tracked during the next few months and other NZ King Salmon fleet cars could be replaced with EVs as they come to the end of their leases.