Govt charges ahead to get electric cars on NZ roads

Electric Vehicles on display at the announcement today (Nina Burton / Newshub)
Electric Vehicles on display at the announcement today (Nina Burton / Newshub)

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced the Government's plans to get more New Zealanders behind the wheel of electric cars.

The Government package includes:

"Electric vehicles will maximise New Zealand's renewable advantage, and with more than 80 percent of the country’s electricity coming from hydro, geothermal and wind. The increased use of electric vehicles will replace petrol and diesel with clean green, locally produced energy," Mr Bridges says.

The push is an effort to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles as well as petrol consumption; a typical petrol car emits more than its weight in CO2 per year (about 2 tonnes).

Many countries already provide incentives to purchase electric cars, including Norway, Germany and the Denmark.

However, Youth, transport, and climate change lobby group Generation Zero isn’t happy the Government is going to allow electric cats to use bus only lanes.

“This is a disappointing and short sighted policy from the Government” Says Generation Zero Auckland Director Leroy Beckett.

 “It will only serve to increase congestion and carbon emissions. If the Government really see electric vehicles as the way to reduce our emissions, this is not the way to encourage the widespread adoption needed to make a difference”

The only incentive currently for New Zealanders using electric vehicles was introduced in 2009, and means drivers do not pay road user charges.

"It's clear electric vehicles are the future. A move from petrol and diesel to low emission transport is a natural evolution, and it's out aim to encourage that switch sooner, rather than later," Mr Bridges says.

There are three types of electric cars:

There are several types of fully electric cars you can get in New Zealand, ranging from $15,000 to $200,000, made by Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Renault and Tesla.

Tesla and Renault are expected to release additional models as well.

Govt charges ahead to get electric cars on NZ roads


Charging electric cars:

Kilowatt­-hours (kWh) are used to measure electricity usage from electric cars.

Rather than km per litre, it's measured in cents per kWh, km per kWh, which similar to miles per gallon or litre, or distance per unit of electricity.

There are charging stations all over the country.

Govt charges ahead to get electric cars on NZ roads

There are two different types of charging stations, fast and slow, provided by electricity companies, petrol stations and even private companies.

Fully electric cars are no new feat for New Zealand, however. Earlier in the year Air New Zealand rolled out a combined fleet of 76 electric vehicles --the largest of its kind in New Zealand.

Each year it will offset around 65,000 litres of fuel, which is apparently enough to half-fill the tanks of a 787 Dreamliner, according to Boeing.

Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon says the decision was reflective of the company’s commitment to "sustainability and carbon reduction across the business".

It's not only small businesses that are taking on the greener alternative, however.

Taxi driver Derek Wiseman owns two fully electric vehicles and is the only passenger vehicle driver in Auckland to use them in his fleet.

"The huge saving in operating costs and environmentalism were the huge driving costs. It’s good for business too. People perk up and listen when I say I'm the only company in Auckland which is 100 percent electric and therefore carbon neutral."

He believes overseas government incentives work so well, the New Zealand Government would be wise to adopt some of the practices.

"There's a lot they could do… obviously financial incentives work. I think in Norway, over 50 percent of new cars bought are electric."