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Plumbers should consider sustainable, eco-friendly vehicles

Plumbers should consider sustainable, eco-friendly vehicles

Master Plumbers welcomes the Government’s proposed ‘Clean Car Discount’ to make electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles more affordable for New Zealanders.

Master Plumbers Chief Executive Greg Wallace says the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying trades need to embrace technology and sustainability when purchasing vehicles for their businesses.

"We have to think ahead," he says. "Electric vehicles (EVs) cost less to run - making them a good business choice - and, thanks to New Zealand’s renewable electricity, they are more environmentally friendly than traditional petrol or diesel vehicles."

"The range of EV models available here today is limited, so plumbers in rural areas requiring four-wheel drive, or those hauling large amounts of equipment or towing trailers will need to keep using conventional vehicles for now, but EV technology will only get better in the future."

"Some of our members in urban areas have already been successfully using light electric vehicles in their fleets for years."

In 2017, Auckland plumbing company Quix Commercial purchased two second-hand Nissan ENV200 imports to add to their fleet.

They cost $25,000 each, including GST, and had just 1,500km on the clock. They have now done around 35,000km with very little maintenance costs beyond replacing tyres, wiper blades and air-conditioning filters - with no significant loss of battery capacity.

"A lot of people have misconceptions that EVs are expensive to buy, won’t go as well as petrol vans, are slow, and run out of charge quickly," says Manager Dave Henderson. "It’s about changing the mindset."

The EVs are the fastest vehicles in Quix Commercial’s fleet and have a range of approximately 130km.

"We’re based in Auckland, and with all the traffic queues, it takes about three weeks to do that many km round town," he says.

They’re also economical, with running costs at around 4c per km.

Henderson says, "The EVs cost us around $50 a month to run. They’re not suitable for every use but are fantastic for what they do. They’re also surprisingly roomy. There’s definitely more room in the back than in the rear of a dual cab ute!"

The Quix vehicles can be charged anywhere using a standard 10 amp three-pin plug. Vehicles are normally charged overnight at employees’ homes. Metered leads record the power used and staff are reimbursed by the company. A full charge usually lasts all day.

Auckland is well set up for free charging and fast charge is increasingly available in other areas around New Zealand. The PlugShare mobile app is a good way of finding the nearest charging station.

"One of our foremen was driving to a job in Whangaparaoa when he realised he was running low on charge. He used the app to find the closest station and had a coffee while he waited. If you compare that to the time and cost involved whenever field staff stop and fill up at the petrol station, a 20-minute coffee break isn’t much to subsidise," says Henderson.

Dave Henderson has a single regret about his EVs. He wishes he’d bought more of them in 2017 when they were cheaper to buy.


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