New Zealand's electric vehicle infrastructure gets $6.5m boost from Government

An electric car being charged
The Low Emission Transport Fund is allocating $6.5 million to reduce greenhouse gasses. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Government's Low Emission Transport Fund (LETF) has allocated nearly $6.5 million in funding to drive down Aotearoa's greenhouse gas emissions.

This includes the first electric milk tanker in the country, a solar-panelled bus and new high-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

In the announcement Minister of Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods said 13 vehicle and technology projects would collectively receive $3,452,025, while 13 EV charging projects would receive co-funding of $3,001,40.

"The LETF is all about finding replicable solutions through innovative transport and infrastructure," Woods said.

"The projects included in this round show the potential for electric and low-emissions transport across a wide range of sectors: from all-terrain farm vehicles to heavy freight.

"Some of these are hard to decarbonise, so this is great progress towards reducing our transport emissions."

Woods said it made sense to partner with businesses so that emissions could be reduced while embracing opportunities from creating jobs in new industries. 

That includes Fonterra operating the first 46 tonne electric milk tanker in the country from its Waitoa Depot near Tauranga and Bayes Coachlines adding a passenger bus with solar panels.

The latter is designed to provide between five and 10 percent of its own power, ensuring greater range and less maintenance costs than other electric buses.

"These latest projects show the fund is doing what it is designed to do, with the sector embracing clean energy in some very sophisticated ways," Woods said.

Another major part of the announcement is a boost to the EV charging network around the country, with the Government having already co-funded more than 1200 public and private chargers.

In this round of funding Chargenet will install eight ultrafast chargers in the Auckland CBD, Napier, Whangārei and New Plymouth and Z Energy will install 12 ultrafast chargers at a number of locations in the upper North Island.

"The EV charging network is growing fast and should give drivers confidence an EV is a great choice, even on long-distance drives," Woods said.

"In the last couple of years, we’ve plugged gaps in places like Bombay, Kaiwaka and Tauranga

"The focus of the LETF is now turning to ensuring any remaining gaps are filled, as we increase density in high-demand areas."

The combined total of $6.45 million in government funding for the projects is matched by $9.03 million in funding from the applicants, ensuring a combined investment of nearly $15.5 million. 

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the variety and innovation on offer was great to see.

"There are so many changes we can make to the way we move about, and together they will make a big difference to lowering emissions. These projects demonstrate the scale of opportunity for decarbonisation in the transport sector," he said.

"In May, the Government will release New Zealand’s first Emissions Reduction Plan, which will be full of initiatives like these across all sectors to get us firmly on the path to net-zero."