News | 19 August 2022

Charging forward with Waka Hiko

With a plan to replace all fossil-fuel powered passenger vehicles with electric alternatives by 2030, Wellington City Council has just added 24 more electric vehicles (EVs) to its fleet – and they have a smart new look to boot.

Waka hiko branding.

By mid-August there will be 40 EVs for staff to use for daily operations, and plans are also under way to reduce the number of fuel-powered vehicles in the fleet. 

The new vehicles can be recognised out and about in the city by the bright yellow '100 percent electric' branding and waka hiko on the doors in line with Tūpiki Ora, the Council’s new 10-year Māori strategy that embraces the use of te reo. 

All branding was made from non-PVC product – PVC is a large contributor to plastic waste and difficult to recycle – and installed by SCG, a signwriter who belongs to the Sustainable Business Network.  

Wellington City Council’s Fleet Advisor Vishal Garg is excited to see the new waka hiko in use.  

“We set a target to be 100 percent electric by 2030 if not sooner, and this is just one way the Council is making changes alongside Wellingtonians to reduce city-wide emissions. We need everyone to work together to be a net zero carbon capital.”  

Person standing infront of a waka hiko.

Vishal is passionate about taking people on a journey to learn about EVs, and how they can consider climate change when using transport. 

“A Waka Kotahi study about Kiwi behaviour shows that on average people don’t travel more than 20 to 50 kilometres a day. We have introduced electric vehicles that are capable of 250-300km range in one full charge and so it can be fit for most Council operations.” 

As Wellington city is compact, there are many opportunities for people to change the way they travel throughout the city and have an impact on carbon emissions, says Vishal. 

“You can very easily change the way you move around the capital. The Council’s area extends to Tawa, so even if you did multiple laps between Tawa and Miramar you would still have enough charge in your car.  

"You don’t need to drive as often as you think because so many things are in walking, biking or scootering distance, and there’s also handy public transport.” 

First to Zero Programme Lead Jeremy Wu highlights that while the Council’s key focus is on promoting the use of active and public transport modes, it is recognised that this may not be a solution for all transport needs.   

”There will be circumstances that require the use of motor vehicles. By transforming our fleet to zero-emission EVs, we utilise a full suite of transport solutions that all help to create a zero carbon future.” 

Transport emissions are a key contributor to climate change, as highlighted in the Te Atakura – First to Zero action plan, with 35 percent caused by road transport.