The southern hemisphere’s first production electric truck hits the road in New Zealand
Daniel Smith / Tips
Norman Vaili, truck driver at Genesis energy, says he enjoys driving an electric truck more than a diesel model.
Norman Vaili has driven trucks for the past four years, but today is the first time he has driven one powered by electricity.
Despite the differences to his regular diesel truck like a quiet engine and the difference in braking, Vaili said the electric version is a lot of fun to drive.
“It’s like driving a big orange kart,” said Vaili.
Vaili and the rest of his truck crew are excited about the latest addition to the truck fleet.
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“It’s cool to be respectful of the environment. When you are driving down the road and people look at you and say, “Oh, these guys are driving an electric truck! “, It’s awesome. This is the way to go, ”Vaili said.
The truck is a Fuso eCanter, the first factory-produced electric truck to hit the roads of the Southern Hemisphere.
The Clean Car Discount program was unveiled by Transport Minister Michael Wood and Climate Change Minister James Shaw on June 13.
The 7.5 tonne eCanter has a range of 100 to 150 kilometers.
Brad Philips, heavy fleet manager at Genesis Energy, said the vehicle was a step forward for the entire transportation industry.
“In the past in New Zealand your only option was to take a diesel vehicle, take the engine out and put an electric motor in it. It’s the first vehicle in New Zealand that you can buy off the shelf that’s built entirely electric in the factory, ”said Philips.
The truck is the first in a long series for Genesis, which has committed to having 50% of its fleet electric by 2025. The electric truck fleet would grow to 55 over the next four years.
Converting to electric vehicles was something Philips would like to see more transportation companies support.
“There is a lot of fruit on hand for the transportation industry. We have a lot of regional distribution here, and electric vehicles really fit that. If we are to decarbonize transport in New Zealand, this is the type of project we need to support, ”said Philips.
Fuso’s New Zealand subsidiary, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi that produced the eCanter, had been asking its parent company in Japan to send the trucks to New Zealand for more than five years.
Kathy Schluter, Fuso New Zealand Group Sales Director, said what ultimately convinced Mitsubishi was the New Zealand government’s commitment to support the implementation of electric vehicles.
In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
“We are a country that wants to be green, and we have the goals to support it. These goals make a good business case for Japan to send its vehicles here, ”Schluter said.
TR Group, which leases heavy trucks to transport and logistics companies, has also ordered 110 trucks for delivery over the next two years.
So far, more than 20 companies have registered to rent an eCanter.
TR Group Managing Director Brendan King said enthusiasm for custom-made electric trucks is high.
“The transportation industry as a whole has been a big contributor to emissions, but the feeling is that we really want to do our best to help change that,” King said.
While electric trucks are the new toy for now, King said more durable vehicles may be available soon.
“We do a lot with hydrogen vehicles. In the times to come, as technology improves and costs decrease, we will see a big shift towards electric and hydrogen fuel cell technology, ”King said.