• By Martin Ough Dealy & Cliff Mail

Carbon from the car: Some suggestions for reducing it

While living in Kerikeri has many advantages, being located in "the Far North" means that most of the places in New Zealand that we want or need to travel too require a long road trip. Also, nearly half of the population of 'greater Kerikeri' live outside the township and need to make a vehicle trip into town in order to access services. As a result of this, many of you maybe surprised to see that transport constitutes one of the highest emissions in your carbon calculations.

So what are some options for reducing those carbon emissions immediately?

  • Visit the ECCA website and complete this questionnaire. It will give you some handy pointers on how you get your vehicle to perform more efficiently and save both carbon emissions and money. In short, the areas you need to pay attention too are:

  • Tyres and tyre pressure

  • Carrying unnecessary weight around in your vehicle, i.e., using it as a store room.

  • Leaving racks on the vehicle when you are not using them - they create drag and reduce your fuel efficiency.

  • Having the vehicle regularly serviced

  • Limiting the use of air conditioning.

  • Adopting a more efficient driving style.

  • Plan those trips into town so that you cover multiple needs in one trip rather than making a trip for each need.

  • Consider car-pooling with a neighbour or friend in the area. Rather than stopping and chatting in main street, have the chat in the car while you head to main street.

  • If you live in town, think about walking or cycling. The exercise and fresh air is good for you.

  • Consider purchasing a bicycle or, if you are on the wrong side of 60, an electric bicycle. There is a vast array of choice, even folding electric cycles that you can put in the car. You still get exercise but the burden of trying to cycle up a hill is largely eliminated.

  • If you would like to cycle but are concerned about safety, make those concerns known to the Council. The more people who raise the lack of infrastructure for safe cycling (or mobility scooter driving or child buggy pushing) the more likely Council will consider catering for more diverse transport options rather than simply focussing on motor vehicles.

In the medium to longer term, think carefully about your next vehicle purchase and use some of the links below to research the options.

Electric (EV) and plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are increasingly realistic options with a growing range of car manufacturers offering these. This trend will only accelerate and the options will probably be even greater by the time you get around to making that purchase. Charging infrastructure is also expanding rapidly. Have a look at the PlugShare site to see which chargers are currently available. While EVs can be more expensive to purchase than comparable internal combustion engine models (ICE) cheaper fuel and running costs can quickly cover that expenditure. For more information visit the ECCA site related to EV & PHEV.

If the current options do not suit your needs then consider a more fuel efficient ICE. You can find out more about fuel efficiency labels at this link. Burning 3-4 litres per 100km rather an 8-10 is going to halve your vehicle's related emissions.

Some data from a Kerikeri EV and PHEV

Cliff & Ruth's Renault Zoe topping up at a free WEL charging station at Te Kauwhata. While the 41KWhr battery has an NEDC range of 400km Cliff has found that a range of around 250km on our hilly roads is more realistic. On flatter terrain and around town we can get closer to a 300km range. In 2 months of ownership we have saved $453 in fuel costs. We are frequent travellers to Auckland and can get down there on a single charge. Topping-up while on the road is an opportunity to stretch the legs or grab a coffee fix.

Martin drives a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV that he has owned since 2016. He has travelled 19,600km in 27 months. He estimates a savings of $3,500 in fuel costs but does point out that all of his charging at home is done from solar panels and when the sun is shining. The Outlander has petrol range of 500Km and another 54 km from a Lithium ion battery with 12 kWhr capacity. So far 90% of the vehicle travel has been on battery power! Mainly local travel. Martin can go in and out of Kerikeri or Waipapa three times in succession starting with full battery using no petrol! Even when working on engine ( i.e. battery is empty), the regenerative capability enabled braking and going downhill to recharge the battery. This made the consumption of petrol very low at 1.7 litres per 100k. Compare that with petrol equivalent vehicle at about 10 litres per 100 km.

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