The herald of Gisborne

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Posted on October 16, 2021 at 12:02 p.m.

The country’s first fleet of fully electric taxis will now operate on the roads of Tairawhiti, after EkoCabs yesterday launched its three electric vehicles at Gisborne Airport.

EkoCabs is an eco-friendly taxi company started by Tayo Agunlejika and Ayo Oyawale in Wellington during the first nationwide lockdown last year.

“Through EkoCabs, we are modeling what an electric taxi fleet can look like – how it can operate and how it can benefit both drivers and customers,” said EkoCabs co-founder Mr. Agunlejika.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz did the honors at yesterday’s launch of cutting the ribbon around new Hyundai IONIQ vehicles.

“I am delighted that Gisborne is the first regional airport where the EkoCabs will be deployed,” she said.

“We are a region of ‘firsts’ and we welcome any initiative that contributes to our goal of greater environmental sustainability. “

While the taxi company first started in the capital, co-founder Mr Oyawale says Gisborne is the first region to have fully electric cars. In Wellington, some drivers had to switch from hybrid to electric after the shutdown of their former employer, Green Cabs.

“We always knew we had to grow outside of Wellington when it came to the vision for EkoCabs,” he said.

The co-founder said Gisborne was the preferred choice as the initiative would have a bigger, better and faster impact in the region than other cities such as Christchurch and Auckland.

Mr. Oyawale also recognized the efforts of the Eastland Group to welcome the company and its shared value of sustainability.

The Group, which operates Gisborne Airport, is a member of the Climate Leaders Coalition.

Eastland Group CEO Matt Todd praised the electric transportation option.

“As a company, we have supported the adoption of electric vehicles in Tairāwhiti by installing a regional network of electric vehicle chargers and ensuring that our own fleet of non-commercial vehicles is electric,” he said. declared.

Mr. Todd said the launch of the company was another positive step towards a zero carbon future for Tairāwhiti.

Mr. Oyawale said that of all the stakeholders and partners they engaged during the year, Eastland Group has been the most proactive.

“After all, we have the launch at the airport, not a conference room in a motel,” he said.

The other big link for the launch was Gisborne taxi driver Chris Lankshear.

In March, Mr. Lankshear attended the Taxi Federation conference and met the founders of EkoCab.

“We discussed and found some common ground. It was only a matter of time to find the right moment to get started here, ”he said.

With 30 years of driving experience behind him, and now as an EkoCab employee, he says the move to electric cabs has allowed people to do the right thing.

Mr Oyowale said electricity is the future and the responsible way.

In a week when the government began consulting on New Zealand’s emissions reduction plan, Transport Minister Michael Wood said he was encouraging to see the EkoCabs get the job done.

“It’s great to see the private sector take on the challenge of decarbonizing transport and EkoCabs has thrown the gauntlet on other operators across New Zealand,” he said.

Co-founder Mr. Agunlejika said that aside from the environmental side, the company would also be eager to contribute to the community as a whole.

“We believe we can use this platform to create a path to have more people employed and it is one of our dreams and future thinking,” he said.

The company has already invested $ 250,000 to reach this stage and plans to invest more in its fleet, hoping to upgrade to 10 electric vehicles by next Easter.

Electric vehicles are available for reservation or call at Gisborne Airport from now, ahead of what should be a busy summer season.

TAKEOFF: EkoCabs’ fleet of fully electric taxis launched yesterday at Gisborne Airport. Pictured left are co-founder Tayo Agunlejika, owner-operators Sara Tari, David Lawrie and Chris Lankshear, and Ayo Oyawale (co-founder). Photo by Liam Clayton


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