Meet Wellington's new electric car share

We recently interviewed Erik Zydervelt about Mevo, an exciting and ambitious electric car share service he has launched for Wellington businesses, residents, and visitors!

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The first of 16 pods is now open in Wellington. Each pod will contain 3 cars for hire and a public charging station.

Why car sharing?

Great question, both my co-founder Finn and I have lived internationally and experienced car shares in Canada and Europe. Basically, cars on average are only used 4% of the time while the owners are forced to pay for 100% of the costs (usually the second biggest part of people's budgets). If you live and work in the city or take public transport to and from work, you only need a car once in a while. Car sharing adds a third option to what was previously a binary decision; owning or not. We thought it was something that would make our cities even better so we decided to start one up.

Who is it for - geographically and demographically?

Car sharing is all about getting the best use of a car throughout the day. Typically car sharing works best in dense urban areas with both residential and business use. As long as there are enough people within 5 minutes walk of the vehicles and their collective needs spread through the week days, evenings and weekends you are good to go. As for who uses car sharing, it's really for anyone (businesses and residents) who need to get around and is open to trying something a little different.

What are the expansion plans in Wellington and New Zealand and how can customers influence this?

Customers can absolutely influence this, check out mevo.co.nz/locations to let us know where you'd like to see a Mevo pod located. We are growing rapidly in Wellington through 2017 and are focussed on establishing a base of vehicles in the central city. Once we have the base we will be looking to expand into the inner suburbs like Khandallah or Island Bay which is where the votes on our page will come in really handy! As for 2018, we are planning on launching in Auckland and potentially other centres around the country.

What's a scenario where Mevo saves you money and time versus traditional ownership?

For businesses, if any of their vehicles are used less than 15,000 kms a year then Mevo will come in more affordable.

For residents, Mevo's really intended for people who don't commute by private vehicle. So if you live in town and need a vehicle in your nights and weekends, or if you would take public transport to work but you need a car during the day, Mevo is perfect for these occasions. Basically, it's like Netflix when compared with DVDs.

In central Wellington, it costs the average car owner about $10,500 per year to own, store, and maintain a private car. Internationally, we see residents saving up to 50% of that cost while still driving 5+ hours per week by using a car share like Mevo. And that cost is flexible, if you drive less, it costs less. It puts you in control.

What’s the sign up and subsequent booking process?

Sign up takes less than 5 minutes and is super easy. Download the app, then you add your details including your driver's licence and credit card the first time. After that we verify these which takes around 24 hrs and then you are set up and ready to go.

As for getting the cars, we have done away with all the complicated booking processes. It's simply, reserve a car up to 30 minutes before you need it then walk up, unlock via the app on your phone and the car's yours until you're done. We are really careful to manage the number of cars to Mevo members and have had 99.9% availability to date.

What’s so good about driving electric?

There is nothing more satisfying than walking to the first Mevo pod at Clyde Quay which has a great view of the Meridian wind turbine and then unplugging the car knowing windy Wellington is partly powering your journey. Then once you're in it's so quiet and so quick! I am pretty sure we will have the fastest car share in the world haha.

Increasing how easy it is to drive electric is a big priority of ours, and so we’ve committed to installing more EV charging stations than our fleet needs, and making these available to the public. At this stage, we’re looking at 16 of these being available in central Wellington for public use by the end of 2017, one at each of our locations.

What are your plans for including 100% electric cars?

In short ASAP. Right now our Audi A3 e-trons run up to 50kms on pure electric which makes up 90% of our trips, then for the 1 in ten trips, they swap over and have up to 900kms range on super efficient hybrid before needing to be refuelled. We are committed to taking care of our member's needs 100% of the time and offsetting our emissions 120%. We are looking at the potential of a mixed fleet of BEVs and PHEVs as the models start to make it above 250kms in range. Basically, we need to have a minimum of 400kms range for a vehicle to work for all the type of journeys our members are taking. We replenish our fleet regularly so our members will see the newer models come in as time goes on and appear in their app to book and use.

Who’s helped you along the way?

We really wouldn't be here without our investors, advisors and partners who have really got behind our vision for a climate positive shared mobility future. Wellington City Council, Audi, Meridian Energy, Trade Me Insurance and Z Energy have all been incredibly supportive and fantastic to work with.

More recently we have been delighted to have the support of the Low Emissions Contestable Fund administered by EECA which is a huge show of support for our project from Central Government and will help to really see Mevo (and EVs as a whole) take off.


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