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13 January 2022

Driving Change

Ray White Damerell Group Property Management has long relied on a small fleet of cars to help its property managers, letting agents and business development manager carry out their day-to-day duties. The nature of their work, driving from one property to the next, makes a car an essential tool of the trade – public transport, or any other form of transport simply doesn’t cut it.


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Historically, this fleet has been powered by petrol – there was no alternative. However, when our lease with Suzuki recently came up for renewal, it gave us the opportunity to look into a more sustainable option in the form of fully electric and/or hybrid vehicles.

As you can imagine, our staff clock up a lot of K's. They manage properties from South Auckland up to Albany and out to Muriwai, collectively driving hundreds of thousands of kilometres a year. 

“Damerell Group is very conscious of is the carbon footprint left behind as a consequence of this travel. And so, when it came to the point that we needed to renew and add to our fleet, we started exploring hybrid options," says Damerell Group Property Management CEO, Aaron Haabjoern. "Inevitably, this would mean more costs upfront, but from a company point of view, we wanted to walk the walk – or drive the drive – when it came to being an environmentally conscious and responsible member of the local community. It's been a focus of Damerell Group for many years."

When it came to deciding between hybrid and fully electric vehicles, hybrid was the sensible and practical choice.

"We looked at electric-only cars, but there were some fundamental roadblocks that needed to be cleared ahead before we could consider switching our entire property management fleet to fully electric vehicles. First and foremost, there's the cost of the initial outlay. Fully electric cars are significantly more expensive than their hybrid cousins. 

Then there's the recharging.

"The way our fleet is structured, our staff use these cars as their daily drive, and they take them home at night. Each team member's situation is different – some have garaging, others not; some live in apartments, others only have on-street parking – so having a fleet of cars that solely relied on being hooked up to a charger at night wouldn't have worked for our situation. And whilst the number of public charging stations is increasing, which is great, there still aren't enough to make it viable for our purposes on a daily basis.”

A hybrid fleet gives Damerell's property management team the best of both worlds, where we can utilise battery power for short journeys in the local neighbourhood, but when it comes to longer distances, the petrol engine can take over. It also means we are not reliant on a single source of fuel/energy.

“In the future, ideally, we would love to have a fully electric fleet, but right now, EVs are not quite there in terms of practicality for our particular use. However, we’ve taken that first step, and it’s important to lead by example, to reduce our carbon footprint, and to have a full fleet of hybrid cars by the first quarter of 2022.”

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