How government subsidies will affect EV uptake
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Nicholas Thomas is Nissan’s director of electric vehicles based in Yokohama, Japan and the expert on bi-directional charging.
Thomas was at the Melbourne launch of the Leaf the same day the New Zealand Government released its proposed “clean emissions” scheme. We spoke to him about the plans and his expectations.
Driven: You said that you had talked already with the NZ Government (regarding EVs)?
Thomas: I had informal conversations with them when they were talking about their legislation.
So they had approached you?
They asked for some advice about what was happening in other countries and for us to share information on how legislation had developed in other countries.
What do you think is the optimum way governments can increase EV use?
I think subsidies are obviously important to help us accelerate.
The cost of batteries is coming down rapidly, but if we want a real fast uptake of EVs, then subsidies are going to help us get there. But it’s also about showing customers the other benefits.
This is the information that I shared with the New Zealand Government. Look at Norway, China and California, and the way they have allowed people additional benefits. Free parking in the cities, investment in charging infrastructure, spreading that charging infrastructure around, employee car parks, public car parks.
Make that accessible to people. And then offer things like where there are high occupancy vehicle lanes or bus lanes or those things, giving people preferential access. Things that don’t necessarily need to cost money, but they give people an incentive to take that EV jump.
In New Zealand we have 82 per cent renewable energy, but if only we could offer more incentives than the previous Government’s now axed idea of bus lane usage for EVs.
I would encourage the Government to do that.
But by working with the energy companies, we can provide a cheaper overall cost.
The car may be more expensive than a traditional petrol car but you’re not not spending $200 or $300 a month on fuel, and by utilising off-peak tariffs, you can get very cheap energy.
Using this bi-directional capability that we have from Nissan, you could reduce your home energy bills as well, by storing off-peak, really cheap energy in your house.
Or if you’ve got home-renewable, you could store that energy in the car, and when you have an extra demand in your house, you can power your house.
We estimate for an average house, the Leaf battery could power the whole house for three days.