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Measures to support electric vehicles in NZ out by year end
By Fiona Rotherham • 21/10/2015
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says his officials are working with local government and key business leaders on a package of measures to support the uptake of electric vehicles which should be announced by the end of the year.
Bridges, who has been outspoken on his support for EVs, said the government was considering what role it could play in facilitating the uptake of them, specifically ensuring the charging infrastructure is developed in a safe and cohesive way to support their increasing use.
In May last year, Northpower installed New Zealand’s first EV rapid charger which can recharge electric vehicles from zero to 80 percent battery capacity within 20 minutes. The charger is available free to all EV owners. The Electricity Networks Association, which represents the 29 companies responsible for electricity distribution, are also planning a nationwide network of vehicle charging points.
“We are also looking at what can be done to address the lack of awareness and misconceptions about electric vehicles,” Bridges said.
EECA has today released an information toolkit that provides insights on the total cost of ownership of new light fleet vehicles including EVs, which he said generates 80 percent fewer Co2 emissions than petrol and diesel vehicles. EECA is targeting fleet managers to encourage them to purchase EVs as around 70 percent of new car purchases in New Zealand are made by businesses for corporate fleets.
Market research by ECCA and the Ministry of Transport shows 47 percent of fleet managers say they don’t know how to compare the running costs of EVs with conventional vehicles.
Mighty River Power has announced it will replace 70 percent of its vehicle fleet with EVs before 2018 and Bridges said that sends a signal that EVs are becoming a real choice for vehicle buyers.
Bridges said around 80 percent of New Zealand’s electricity is generated from renewable sources and even if all the vehicles on the road were to be electric, there is enough renewable generation consented to cover demand.
“Because of our high percentage of renewable energy, the energy benefits of electric vehicles in New Zealand are greater than in other countries,” he said.
And compared to other countries, New Zealanders have a low average commute, with urban drivers clocking up about 22 kilometres a day which is a distance EV’s can easily handle, he said.
Otago University research released in July this year said Kiwis were keen to shift to EVs but some key barriers holding them back include cost, range, and charge time. There were only 660 EVs in New Zealand as of May, the research said.