Charging up our EV fleet


As the Co-op works to support the good work in sustainability that’s happening on its dairy farms, it’s upping the ante on its fleet of electric vehicles (EVs).

Chief Operating Officer, Fraser Whineray is leading the charge and says moving to EVs has positive benefits for New Zealand.

“As a country, the fastest growing source of emissions is road transport – it’s doubled since 1990 and is now at the same level as methane from dairy cows, which is also a big challenge for the Co-op.

“Electricity is essentially made in New Zealand, and works out to be the equivalent of just 30 cents a litre. That’s much cheaper than using imported liquid fuels, so it’s important that as many New Zealanders who can, do their bit.

“While our bovine team of 6.3 million are already the lowest carbon dairy producers in the world, there’s still more work to be done. It requires continued research, which Fonterra’s investing in, to get the methane reductions we need. In the meantime, we can make instant gains with a switch to EVs, particularly for light vehicles, because the technology is much further along in its development.”

The Co-op is starting with replacing around 320 light vehicles with EVs as they come up for regular replacement by 2023.

“This is an opportunity for Kiwis, no matter what they do, or where they live, to play their part in reducing national emissions, as well as reducing the use of hard-earned Kiwi export income on importing fuel.

While our bovine team of 6.3 million are already the lowest carbon dairy producers in the world, there’s still more work to be done.

Fraser Whineray, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, fonterra

“Finding a solution to the methane issue is going to take time. We already have a solution to the biggest proportion of NZ’s road transport emissions, being light vehicles, so we can make a difference here right now.

“Our move to EVs will increase demand for good, high quality EVs leading to a pool of quality second hand vehicles while also accelerating the development of charging stations in rural New Zealand. We are also looking to support the move to electric vehicles for tankers and trucks, but that is at a much earlier stage of development”, says Fraser.

More charging stations are to be installed at our manufacturing sites around the country, including at our Edendale, Darfield, Clandeboye and Stirling sites, where we have received funding from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to help with installation.

While smaller EVs are becoming more common place, the trusty ute (utility vehicle) and other vehicles built for more rugged conditions aren’t yet in market. Group Director Farm Source Richard Allen says the team are working through what an electrified fleet could look like.