Moves to push Kiwis towards electric cars


Transport Minister Simon Bridges is promising a range of incentives to encourage more Kiwis into electric cars (EVs).

Only 1000 of them are registered in New Zealand and a plummeting oil price is not helping the uptake.

One car is on a road trip from Russell to Taupo -- a trip dictated by where and when its owner can top up the batteries.

Two more rapid charging stations were unveiled in Auckland, but a lack of them is a barrier to car owners going electric.

Yet Mr Bridges says it's a no brainer.

"We are one of the most EV-ready countries in the world and EVS are the future of private transport," Mr Bridges says.

But are we ready?

Norway is the leading EV country; similar in size to New Zealand, it also has lots of renewable energy.

But while we have 1000 electric vehicles registered, Norway has 77,000.

We have 142 public charging stations. Norway has 7000.

Norway also offers financial incentives. So far New Zealand exempts EVs from road user charges, but there is a promise of more this year.

"I have to go to Cabinet colleagues on this and I will do that in due course," says Mr Bridges. "But certainly we are thinking about package to encourage this."

This not new from the Minister -- in March last year, he asked officials to look at how to encourage uptake of electric cars.

It was reported those measures would be announced by the end of the year, but so far there's nothing.

With oil prices plummeting again, there is some drag on electric uptake. But proponents say petrol will never be as cheap as electricity.

"Petrol would have to be down around 30, 40 cents a litre for it to be on a par with an electric vehicle," says Steve West from "And electric vehicles have so many more features that are appealing."

But one isn't -- there's a distinct a lack of charge stations, which means those on a road trip will have to make sure they don't run flat.