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Clean EV for dirty job Civic Contractors has the mammoth task of cleaning a huge number of Auckland’s toilet facilities. Now, in partnership with FleetPartners, they are doing it with a cleaner vehicle.

The company has added an all-electric Renault Kangoo ZE to its fleet. The French van can charge for just a few dollars, and travel over 100km on its battery – more than enough for city operations. Civic Contractors’ director Bjorn Revfeim is an enthusiastic cheerleader for the vehicle and can only see advantages as it fits into urban rounds. “It’s incredibly quiet,” he says. “Not only can the Kangoo drop the noise level in the city, but it can be plugged to a charger while actually working on a job. Not only does it mean no time gets wasted going to service stations to fill up with petrol or diesel, it’ll fill itself up while our guys are doing their work. “We have already acquired a Nissan all-electric van and a small electric truck,” he continues. “But they’ve only really just arrived, so we’re going to get them out there doing the work and see how they cope actually doing the job. We think they’ll go really well, but we just want to trial them first. “We essentially clean all components of the streetscape environment - lots of public toilets, litter and waste collection, sweeping, that sort of thing. One vehicle is going to fit into our graffiti team, but the Renault will actually become one of our toilet cleaning team vehicles - we’re cleaning around 300 toilets two or three times a day.” While there won’t be a huge custom fit-out needed for the Kangoo, he says there’s still about 200kg added to the weight of the van in order to fulfill its role - mostly consumables like toilet paper, chemicals, mops and buckets.

“We already have an existing relationship with FleetPartners and a long history - we lease a number of vehicles through them, so the chance to put together a partnership for an electric vehicle was a brilliant opportunity,” Reyfeim says. “There are a lot of people who have concerns about EVs and batteries, things like that. We’ve got a full operating lease, so FleetPartners will take responsibility for any repairs that are necessary.” EVs making more sense for business Electric vehicles are increasingly making sense for business use according to FleetPartners managing director Paul Verhoeven. “NZ businesses are talking about EV’s frequently and identifying how they align with their ‘sustainable’ agenda,” Verhoeven says. “At a recent CEO summit hosted by Westpac, Air NZ and Mercury Energy, the groundswell towards EV’s was clearly evident and the request for lease quotes post this meeting has been encouraging, “This coupled with a number of OEMs committed to introducing their variants early 2017 should see a larger number of EVs visible on our roads.” A roadblock for now is the price of the limited options on the market, but leasing, and, in the long term, market dynamics, should take care of that.

Over their existing fleet of small petrol and diesel vans, Reyfeim says the biggest advantages are noise and fuel efficiency.

“They may seem more expensive in terms of acquisition price, but the costs to run and maintain these vehicles is very low,” he explains. “The largest ‘unknown’ is the secondary market but if you review what happened to hybrids, there are transport providers who have branded green, and have a very strong business model supported by low emission vehicles.

With the long-term durability of EV batteries still unproven, leasing presented a positive solution.

“I suspect that this trend will extend to no emission vehicles,” Verhoeven adds.

“Everything you need to service a toilet,” he says.

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Clean EV for a dirty job  

Civic Contractors has the mammoth task of cleaning Auckland facilities... With an EV.

Clean EV for a dirty job  

Civic Contractors has the mammoth task of cleaning Auckland facilities... With an EV.