Instead of saving emissions, many of the company’s electric vehicles sit unused in parking lots. But once you get a staff member to take that first round, that person’s fear will start to subside.
As part of her job running electric car company Zilch, Kirsten Corson has seen company executives – feeling environmental pressure – add multiple electric vehicles to a staff fleet.
“They pat themselves on the back and submit their annual report that they are switching to electric vehicles,” he said.
Most of these plug-in cars end up gathering dust, he says.
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That’s because staff find it difficult to use new technology without support, he said. We are all creatures of habit and we will take the easiest path.
Before buying an electric vehicle, Corson recommends the company to assess its fleet and staff the trips it undertakes. Using it, organizations can map a complete transition to electricity.
The plan should include the support the business will provide to staff who have never driven an electric car before – from training sessions on apps to downloading and how to use different cables to connect the car. Staff should have access to a trip planner “so if you take the car to Timaru, this is where you stop and charge the car on the road,” he said.
Lastly, staff can collectively take the car for a test drive. Then, they left. The first drive is the hardest. After that, it takes three prompts for people to relax and think: I know this. “
The top brass must take the lead, said Corson. “That is the basis of having a conversation.”
If a petrol car enthusiast and Christchurch city councilor James Daniels can be won by an electric car, he thinks anyone can.
Her first trip in an electric vehicle was after a lockdown. He saw Zilch sharing a car across the street from his office. While he had some anxieties about getting started, he found “that fear is no different from a fuel gauge.”
City trips are not a problem, and longer journeys require less prior planning, he said. The fuel savings are a bonus: “Actually I only have to pay for one bill, and that’s $ 5 for 250 kilometers.”
His friends and family were extravagant about gas, and despite their habit of giving him sticks, Daniels insisted he would change people’s minds.
“Electric vehicles are the right thing to do at the moment, although I never thought I would hear myself say this,” he added. “We are too dependent on cars, even though I still like cars.”
The Genesis Energy car fleet at its Auckland and Hamilton offices is now fully electric, said chief executive Marc England. Even though the heavier vehicles at the power station still use fossil fuels, electric generators dumped a lot of gasoline and diesel vehicles two years ago.
Employee anxiety can be a “real hurdle,” says Britain. “It’s happening all over the place … It’s not just a change in technology, it’s a change in mindset.”
But the emission savings will only be realized when the staff uses the new car. “What’s important is cultural change, not the exchange of electric vehicles.”
A carrot-and-stick approach may be needed. He agreed the staff might need a little help, like info on how and where to charge, he said.
“Our staff uses electric vehicles because we take an internal combustion engine. You have to pick it up to get change. A company that doesn’t see that isn’t likely to get an effective cultural change – so that’s the stick. Carrots must win hearts and minds, “he added.
It only takes one car trip to allay anxiety of distance, says Britain.
“A lot of people’s fears are irrational … Until you actually start driving an electric vehicle, you don’t realize it,” he said. “And actually, driving an electric vehicle is a lot more fun.”
Cameron Bradley is another converter, both into electric vehicles – to reduce carbon – as well as car sharing to reduce the number of idle cars and manufacturing emissions.
“When I had questions at the start, the car was very good,” he added. “It’s cool knowing you’re doing your part.”
Genesis and Zilch team up to launch a new car-sharing hub in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter. 20 electric vehicles can be rented per hour by anyone, from community members to nearby businesses. Above, Genesis leases a number of Zilch cars exclusively.
The UK says the sharing concept allows everyone to take advantage of lower electric car emissions and operating costs, compared to petrol cars. “That makes the cars effectively cheaper to operate, because you use them more often.”
Corson also believes that car sharing is a more effective use of resources. “The answer for us is not going out and buying an electric car.”
You’re not going to fill up your car with gas from a friend’s house, so is it okay to wire cables through their windows and charge your EV with their electricity? Ethically Kate, aka Kate Hall, shares her tips from a recent trip.
- Convince the people: “I warned people before that I was driving an EV and would ask if it was okay to plug it in their house. Everyone didn’t mind, but everyone wanted to know how much it cost, so I started convincing people about the costs before they asked. “
- Visit friends with EV: Charging points already prepared.
- Describe yourself: “At a fast charging station, you can choose to charge up to 80 percent or 100 percent. I’ve heard that some people get annoyed if you charge up to 100 percent, because most people charge up to 80 percent. If someone is waiting, I will explain how far I have to drive and why I need to fully charge. “
- Ask nicely: “If I wait, I want to know how long someone will be – not to rush them, just so I know. People can get a little defensive, so I made sure to make it clear that I wasn’t trying to rush them. But I only had to wait 2-3 times out of 39 bills. “
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