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Base 2 ditches the gas guzzlers: The future is now EV
Tue, 1st Nov 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

"New Zealand has this clean, green image in the world, but yet in this space we're so far down the pack in terms of leading on this. When other countries have 30% Electric vehicles (EVs), there's no reason why we shouldn't get behind it as well."

Those are the words from Ian Baker, finance director at Auckland-based Managed Service Provider Base 2.

The company is on a mission to cut its carbon footprint and is on the way to adopting a brand new electric vehicle (EV) initiative. And it wants to show that even for an SMB, EV adoption and decreasing footprints can in fact make sense economically.

Greg Sharp, Base 2's managing director, says the idea is based on a simple premise: the company wants to have a smaller environmental footprint through smarter vehicle use and reducing e-waste.

To do that, Base 2 has partnered with BMW to bring in the first of its EV leases: the BMW i3.

You might look at the BMW R3 as a grand statement for an electric vehicle choice, but Base 2 made sure there was a positive alignment with factors such as range, sustainability and the fact that it's extremely well made.

Sharp says the total cost of ownership over a three-year period actually saves the company a considerable amount of money.

Ian Baker, the company's financial director, can testify to that.

"Being the accountant, I started running the numbers on it, and the total cost of ownership of EVs just makes so much more sense. By the time you factor in fuel costs and road user charges, the economics of it made a lot of sense as well."

Baker says that when you put those two together, why wouldn't you do it?

"The EV space is a massive opportunity for New Zealand to get a genuine sustainability story going," he says.

The range of EVs is also improving, which means the company can send out a car to a client site at the other end of town and not have to worry about losing charge. The company is doing a gradual rollout of EVs as its current vehicle leases run out.

Mercury Energy has also chosen Base 2 as its 'hero story' for electric vehicle adoption, showcasing the fact that SMBs can in fact successfully go electric.

Earlier this month Mercury teamed with Air New Zealand to launch a joint initiative that pledged to increase the number of EVs in New Zealand by more than 75% in the next three years alone. This could remove almost 3 million kilograms of carbon emissions annually.

So far some of the New Zealand organisations committing to 30% EVs by 2019 include Xerox, Fujitsu, The Warehouse, Vodafone and Xero.

But for Base 2, it's not just about EVs, but about e-waste too.

Base 2 will soon be joining the list, not not only are they committing to EVs, but also reducing e-waste as well. The company deals with a lot of waste, through PCs the company replaces on-site and waste generation through its natural business.

"We obviously replace a lot of computers and get a lot of computers, switches - all of that e-waste, to be put into some sort of recycling plant. We're looking at partnering with an e-waste recycling outfit so that we can start to provide a channel for all of our clients to easily get rid of their stuff that's recycled in the correct way," Sharp says.

"I think we've got a moral responsibility to find the best ways to lower the e-waste footprint and any other associated activities that we can go after. Certainly from that IT industry standpoint, we sell and create a lot of e-waste," Sharp says.

"I just want to think about any and all areas of the business that can make a difference," Baker adds.

With the price point and range of EVs dropping and the start of government momentum, Baker believes it's only going to get easier from here.

"Right now it's only being adopted by the private sector; if we're to get more EVs on the road, we need our friends in government behind it," he says.

The green initiative towards electric vehicles is only just starting to take hold, with the government recently announcing that there are 2000 registered EVs on our roads.

While that's slowly happening, Base 2 says they'd love for others in the IT industry to join them and look at decreasing their footprint in whatever ways possible.