John Key: More electric cars coming

May 5, 2016

John Key: More electric cars coming

Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Simon Bridges at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Photo: Kate Gregan

More affordable second-hand electric cars on the market may entice potential buyers, with the Government’s latest electric vehicle programme revealed today.

Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced an ambitious plan in Auckland this afternoon to increase the uptake of electric vehicles on New Zealand roads.

The scheme involves doubling the number of electric vehicles in the country each year to reach an estimated 64,000 sustainable cars by 2021.

The push for electric vehicles aims to decrease a New Zealander's average carbon footprint.

Transport emissions make up 17 per cent of the total emissions for the country, and Mr Bridges believes eco-friendly cars will change this.

“By starting to replace New Zealand fleets with electric vehicles now, we can begin to significantly reduce our green house gas emissions.”

A huge saving on the purchase cost of an e-vehicle for a typical driver will also entice buyers, according to the announcement today.

An exemption of road user charges for light vehicles will be extended until 2021, which will give an expected saving of $600 a year, or several thousand dollars over the life of a vehicle, to a typical owner.

Another affordability scheme to encourage the switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric is to create a trickle-down effect.

To do this, the Government and the corporate sector will be encouraged to make bulk purchases of electric vehicles, according to Mr Key.

Air New Zealand announced last month their plans to include 36 fully electric BMW i3 vehicles for its sales force.

Mr Key believes those sorts of sales will pave the way for an affordable, previously-owned range of e-vehicles to enter the market.

“Like any business, Air New Zealand will be turning over its cars reasonably regularly. Those cars then flow into the second-hand market and other people will buy them.”

The Government’s package also includes an allowance for electric vehicles to use both bus and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the state highways and local roads.

Mighty River Power chief executive, Fraser Whineray, summed up the timeliness of the plan and its eventual positive impacts at today's event by quoting Rachel Hunter: “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”

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