NZ Defence Force plugs into electric vehicles

New Zealand Defence Force
3 min readSep 29, 2020

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has taken a major step towards reducing its carbon bootprint by purchasing its first electric vehicle (EV) and installing EV charging stations at Trentham Military Camp.

The Hyundai Ioniq will join the fleet at Trentham, where the two Delta 7kW slow charging stations are also available for personnel to charge their private EVs.

It is part of the Defence Force’s wider programme towards a more sustainable operation, which fits with the Government’s drive to put more EVs on the roads.

The Trentham trial will determine how many chargers might be needed and how best a booking system might work.

Trentham Camp Commander, Major Jim Maguire plugs into the new charging station on camp

Defence Estate and Infrastructure Sustainability Manager Dr Lee Bint said the Trentham trial would help determine the most appropriate type of charging station. It will also guide the use of EV charging stations at other NZDF sites.

Dr Bint said the Trentham pilot was part of the Defence Force’s sustainability roadmap Tuku Iho, which means “to pass on what you’ve received in at least as good as, if not better than, what you receive it in”.

“The Defence Force is one of the biggest employers and landowners in the country. As such we have huge responsibility to look after our people, buildings, land and taonga.

“From electric vehicles to efficient buildings, environmental stewardship and looking after our people’s growth and embracing our bicultural heritage, we want to make sustainability part of everything we do.

“We are soon to adopt a roadmap where sustainability is part of business-as-usual operations. The NZDF estate includes 81,000 hectares of land (bigger than Tongariro National Park), 5000 buildings and thousands of vehicles so we can potentially make a massive contribution to reducing the country’s carbon footprint.”

The NZDF would have to play its part in the Government’s goal of increasing the number of EVs, she said.

“We need charging infrastructure if we want electric fleet vehicles.”

The NZDF is already trialling four electric utility bikes for their suitability for use in the field, and electric carts are used at a number of bases. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is also replacing diesel passenger stair units with fully electric units at air bases around the country.

Trentham Camp Commander Major Jim Maguire said a survey had shown there was good support for the charging stations.

“A lot of our fleet vehicles are doing short trips around Wellington and EVs are perfect for that.

“The Army is adopting new technology all the time and this trial will see how EVs can be used efficiently for our tasks while lowering our carbon footprint.

“A lot of our staff are looking at buying their own EVs and having the charging stations on camp is an incentive because it offers them more flexibility about when they can charge up.”

Steve West, CEO and Founder of ChargeNet said: “We’re pleased to partner with the New Zealand Defence Force on their sustainability initiatives. It’s an absolute honour to help the brave Kiwis who protect New Zealand’s interests make the switch to electric vehicles. By installing AC chargers at Trentham Military Camp, the NZDF joins dozens of other businesses around New Zealand offering EV charging to their employees.”

This week is International Drive Electric week with a number of events happening around the country.



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