Southland is set to benefit from a record $11 million investment that will see more electric vehicles and chargers introduced across the region. 

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods yesterday announced the largest ever round of funding from the Government’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable fund that thirty-one low emission transport projects will benefit from, including Southland’s own McCallum’s group and the Invercargill YMCA.

Venture Southland Strategic Projects Manager Rhiannon Suter said it was great to see so much support for the Southland-led projects in the Minister’s announcement.

“From local companies embracing electric vehicles to the intended installation of EV chargers across the region, it’s great to see Southland becoming more and more committed to reducing its carbon footprint,” Suter said.

Venture Southland was able to support McCallums Group who were successful with their application to the Low Emission Vehicle Contestable fund.

With the funding awarded, McCallums Group plans to purchase an electric van that will test the viability of converting their whole corporate fleet to electric vehicles within the next five years.

“We’re happy to have played a small part in helping McCallums to receive this funding that will go a long way towards achieving their goal of becoming environmentally credible,” Suter said.

Alongside McCallums receiving $35,000 to convert their fleet to electric vehicles, the Invercargill YMCA was also successful in obtaining $18,000 of funding to purchase two second-hand electric vehicles and one EV charger.

Funding was also awarded to Real Journeys and Foodstuffs New Zealand to help extend the coverage of the EV charging network, with charging stations intended to be installed in Bluff and Te Anau.

Suter said the funding awarded will not only contribute to reduced carbon emissions across the region but also help to demonstrate the actions that individuals and companies can take to live more sustainably.

Reducing carbon emissions and embracing environmentally-sustainable initiatives is one of the driving forces behind Southland’s three-year regionally-focused project, Carbon Neutral Advantage.

The project, which is being coordinated by Venture Southland, has received funding from the Tindall Foundation and the Ministry for the Environment and will work alongside Southland businesses, councils, and the wider community to implement carbon reduction initiatives that encourage a low emission future for Southland.

Suter said the Minister’s announcement further cemented the proactive and innovative approach the region had endorsed in the face of Climate Change.