Govt puts $6m into electric vehicles


The Government is putting aside $6 million a year to promote the uptake of electric vehicles (EV).

The fund launches on Wednesday and coincides with a week of events to get more businesses and individuals in EVs.

They're nowhere near as flashy as Teslas, but Waste Management's rubbish trucks will soon be replaced with electric versions.

"We have a large fleet - 200 cars, 800 trucks," says Waste Management's Tom Nickells. "We're planning to convert the majority of our fleet across to full plug-in electric over the next several years."

Waste Management plans to have three electric-powered trucks on the road by Christmas. It's the latest big player to go electric, following Air New Zealand's decision to convert its ground fleet.

The Government says the economics and environmental benefits both stack up, and it wants more people to follow. It's launched an awareness campaign in time for the global Electric Drive Week.

Around 50 events like an EV gathering in Wellington on Monday morning are taking place throughout the week.

"It's about encouraging New Zealanders to say, 'Yep, actually this is something we'll consider for our next choice of car,'" says Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

Mr Bridges himself bought a hybrid car and says he's only filled up with petrol once or twice in two months.

The Government has been accused of not showing the same leadership when it chose diesel over electric for its new Crown cars.

But Mr Bridges says Government will go electric eventually and it's putting up $6 million a year for EV projects.

"That might be in tourism; it might be in heavy vehicles; it might be in transport, or it might be around charging infrastructure in a particular region," says Mr Bridges.

While today there are only 2000 electric vehicles on our roads, Mr Bridges says that'll grow to more than 60,000 in the next five years.