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Small changes that have big impact - case study

Simple actions can have a big impact on changing travel behaviour and increasing booking of low and zero-emission rental vehicles.

We are committed to reducing petrol vehicle usage – a significant emissions source – and promoting electric and low emission transport options within the AoG rental vehicles contract. To support this goal we set up an electric vehicle (EV) pilot project to increase the bookings of EV and hybrid rental vehicles. After six months, pilot participants saw a significant increase in bookings for EV and hybrid vehicles. This case study shows how simple actions can make a big difference.

Project overview

Agencies Waka Kotahi (NZTA), The New Zealand Plant and Food Research Limited and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) worked with the AoG Travel team to implement and test a policy change on booking behaviours over a six month period.

Agencies in the pilot project took three key actions to achieve this result.

Implementing policy change or vehicle preferencing

Changing corporate practice and culture to choose low emission transport options can be challenging. To address this challenge, pilot participants changed their travel policy so that EV and hybrid rental vehicles were in policy and petrol rental vehicles were out of policy. 

Access the Waka Kotahi (NZTA) and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment electric vehicle in policy discussion video on the rental vehicles broader outcomes page.

Rental vehicles broader outcomes

Preferencing electric vehicles and hybrids in the online booking tool

To encourage travel bookers to choose low emission options, pilot participants worked with their travel management service (TMS) providers to preference vehicle types on their online booking tool (OBT). System changes were made so that EV and hybrid vehicles were visibly displayed at the top of the OBT. If a petrol vehicle was booked instead of a low emission option, travel bookers entered a reason into the system, which was later collected for internal reporting purposes.

example online booking tool
Example of AoG Travel management service provider online booking tool

Using education and communication to accelerate EV and hybrid adoption

Education and training sessions were held with travel bookers to alleviate apprehensions and address other factors affecting EV uptake, such as perceptions of EV attributes (e.g. cost, range). This was supported by clear communications through intranet banners, Workplace by Facebook, messaging, sustainability champions were crucial to delivering supporting messages throughout the organisation.

Project results

Over the six months, the use of electric and low emission vehicles across the pilot participants increased from 5% to 30%. Waka Kotahi (NZTA) increased their usage to 41%. These results show that simple policy and technology changes, supported by education and communication, can make a big difference to booking behaviours and the usage of electric and low-emission vehicles.

Image showing three alternative vehicle types: electric, hybrid and petrol. Each vehicle type is distinguished by a colour: electric vehicles are green, hybrid vehicles are purple and petrol vehicles are blue, and percentage of rental car bookings in October 2020: 95% of bookings were petrol vehicles; 5% of bookings were hybrid vehicles; and 0% of bookings were electric vehicles.

October 2020 percentage of bookings for electric, hybrid and petrol vehicles

Image showing three alternative vehicle types: electric, hybrid and petrol. Each vehicle type is distinguished by a colour: electric vehicles are green, hybrid vehicles are purple; and, petrol vehicles are blue, and percentage of rental car bookings in March 2020: 70% of bookings were for petrol vehicles; 24% of bookings were hybrids; and 6% of bookings were electric vehicles.

March 2021 percentage of bookings for electric, hybrid and petrol vehicles

These images represent change in booking numbers of electric, hybrid and petrol rental vehicles over a six month period (October 2020 to March 2021) as a result of agencies participating in the electric vehicle pilot project prioritising low emission vehicles in the online booking tool. Vehicle types are distinguished by colour, electric vehicles are green, hybrid vehicles are purple and petrol vehicles are blue.

Summary

Perhaps the biggest success of the pilot project is that the change has now become business as usual within the group.

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“Small changes can have big impacts”

Joanna Wyatt  Procurement Manager, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited
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“At Waka Kotahi we must be the change we want to see. We’re looking hard at our own corporate practices and culture. This includes reducing our own business travel emissions. We have been encouraging staff to try electric vehicles and will keep working on this. Our travel policy encourages our people to choose low-emission transport options where practicable”.

Leanne Hartshorne  Manager, Business Operations, Corporate Support, Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency
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“It was the easiest travel policy change ever. Our team just ran with it – no fuss and no issues. The right thing to do can be (and is) simple!”

Mike Brown  Procurement Manager, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority

A recent rental vehicle agency satisfaction survey conducted by the AoG travel team showed that 85% of responding agencies said Yes to preferencing EVs and hybrid vehicles.

Contact the AoG Travel team or your travel management services provider and we will provide support to get you moving.

Many thanks to Waka Kotahi (NZTA), The New Zealand Plant and Food Research Limited and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) for your participation.

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