Signage has been added to Northland DHB’s new fleet of six electric vehicles, meaning they are ready to roll out. The EVs will leave less of a carbon dioxide-equivalent emission footprint in the atmosphere as they transport DHB staff delivering all sorts of healthcare services across northland.
The 100 percent Renault Zoe electric vehicles were purchased in 2017 as part of the Sustainability Strategy and Action Plan.
They have a 40 kW battery with a tested real range in Northland of about 270 km. Until now, the large fleet of vehicles used by staff such as public health nurses to deliver services to the community has been entirely petrol-based. The idea is the EVs will reduce money lost on petrol as well as embodying the DHB’s commitment to its targeted cut of greenhouse gas emission by 15 per cent by 2025.
Northland DHB is well underway with that goal, having recently reported a seven per cent carbon footprint reduction for the year 2016-2017.
Cars in the fleet are instead assigned to district nurses’ daily rounds, child health as well as public health.
Fleet fuels is the largest emissions category of our DHB’s carbon footprint and therefore an important category to make changes and lower our environmental impact. Reducing unnecessary travel will also be achieved by using telehealth applications and video conferencing. Where travel is unavoidable, electric vehicles are the way to go. The strategy is to, over the following years, introduce more zero emission electric vehicles to the fleet.
Before the March 6 launch of the cars, stickers were added promoting the EVs and bring more awareness around the environmental and health benefits of 100 percent electric vehicles. Message on the cars say ‘Ka ora Te Taiao, Ka ora Te Tangata / Healthy environment Healthy people.’ Other signage reads ‘On our way to a zero emission healthy future.’
Northland is one of the first DHBs to have introduced electric vehicles (following Nelson-Marlborough DHB.)
Less smog in the bigger picture
Not only will 12.7 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent gas emissions) be avoided per electric vehicle over 100,000 km but, equally important, electric vehicles cause no air pollution so they have a direct positive impact on public health.
Air pollution from vehicles alone is estimated to result in 500 premature deaths each year and therefore cause more fatalities than road accidents in New Zealand each year. Air pollution also results in more than 260 hospitalisations and 712,000 restricted activity days (Kuschel and Mahon 2010, NZ Transport Agency research report 441). Globally, air pollution is the number four cause of premature death. By introducing electric vehicles to the fleet Northland DHB contributes to lower these impacts.
Find out more about Northland DHB’s sustainability programme at https://www.northlanddhb.org.nz/about-us/sustainability/