Westpac has welcomed the arrival of 65 new electric and plug-in hybrid cars as it gears up to meet a target of almost 100 electric cars by 2019. 

Westpac began their EV journey by adding three electric vehicles in late 2016 and committed to convert 30% of it's 301 car fleet by 2019. A commitment made by more than 30 organisations across the country. Other companies include the likes of Air New Zealand, Fonterra and The Warehouse just to name a few. 

“If corporates weren’t leading the charge like they are doing in New Zealand, we’d wait a long, long time for EVs to come into the mainstream here,” says Mark Gilbert, the chairman of advocacy group Drive Electric.

The 65 vehicles will be sent to Westpac branches and offices ranging from Albany to Invercargill from this month. "At least 50 of our new cars will be fully electric and our ongoing commitment is to include as many full EVs as possible. However, for staff working further afield, it makes sense to include the plug-in hybrid vehicles as well" Said Karen Silk, Westpac NZ General Manager, Commercial Corporate and Institutional Banking. 

To cope with the added power needed to supply the Hyundai's, Westpac has also introduced the largest corporate charger installation in New Zealand. Work has begun on Westpac's Britomart head office to upgrade the power supply of the building so that it can accomodate the 23 charges that will be installed in the carpark.

There's also some good news for current EV owners. Westpac hope to make the chargers at Tauranga and Hamilton (five total) free for public use outside of business hours, will the hope of expanding the network in the future. 

The Hyundai Ioniq is the first car to be available in New Zealand as either a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure EV, but Westpac chose to not go for the hybrid model, considering the plug-in hybrid (which can be charged from an external power source and travel for commuting distances on pure-electric power) to be the more ecologically friendly choice.

Westpac refresh their fleets regularly so after a few years these Ioniqs will be released into the second-hand market. The cheaper cars will build out the EV stocks and help with creating more awareness around the benefits of transitioning.

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