Priority lane trial for EV drivers flops

Today is the last day Auckland drivers of electric vehicles (EV) can use priority lanes on motorway on-ramps with only a single passenger.

A survey has found the 12-month trial didn't encourage people to buy the vehicles, says the NZ Transport Agency.

"EV owners said that while being able to use the priority lanes was one of many benefits of having an EV, the use of priority lanes wasn't a significant factor in their decision to purchase an EV," said NZTA spokesman Charles Ronaldson.

"The ability to access priority lanes didn't have any significant impact on peoples' decision to buy an EV."

Of the 109 EV owners surveyed who'd made their purchase in the past year, only one said using priority lanes was an essential factor in their decision to buy. Nine in 10 said they didn't consider it at all, or it wasn't important.

Instead, EV owners said environmental concerns, lower running costs and the novelty factor were the primary reasons they bought one.

In 2016 then-Transport Minister Simon Bridges said opening up bus lanes to EV users was the "single most-effective non-financial incentive" to get people using EVs overseas.

This trial focused on motorway on-ramps, with Auckland Transport rejecting Mr Bridges' plan to let EV drivers use bus lanes because it might undermine the city's bus network.


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