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Electric campervan on three-week road trial

International tourists visiting New Zealand could be hitting the roads in electric campervans within two years if a new electric vehicle trial proves successful.

Auckland-based company Jucy Rentals will trial a full-electric Nissan E-NV200 campervan with the help of two overseas tourists.

During their journey, two visiting French students will travel thousands of kilometres throughout the North Island in a prototype Jucy campervan, powered only by electricity.

The tourists plan to visit about 30 destinations in the North Island over three-weeks.

Jucy CEO Tim Alpe says the company aims to introduce a new category of electric vehicle to its fleet to meet growing demand from millennial tourists.

“Electric vehicles are the future of the Jucy campervan fleet and this trial is the ideal platform to test our product offering for customers.

“This market segment in particular wants more environmentally-sustainable travel options. At the same time this gives our tourists more choice and cheaper running costs.”

Alpe says further expansion of the programme will need additional investment in charging infrastructure and vehicles that can travel further distances.

“Campervans are the perfect vehicle to be electrically powered as tourists tend to drive during the day and can then recharge overnight at their campground.

“One of the biggest barriers we will face in the short term is lack of infrastructure to support EV charging.

“We are working with camping grounds to introduce suitable facilities for overnight charging but there is also a need to bring in rapid chargers on the roads between main centres.

“At the same time, there are range limitations of the vehicles that need to be overcome to ensure tourists can travel long distances across the country, without the need to constantly recharge their battery.

“Our future as a sustainable tourist market will be short-lived if our customer experience is impacted by the range their vehicle can travel each day.”

The company plans to introduce charging stations at their branches and hotels across NZ and Australia.