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Climate Change Minister James Shaw says he is committed to encouraging the use of electric vehicles and believes the Crown car fleet can be electric powered by 2025.
The previous government made a "seemingly unenthusiastic" start to promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and there was a good case further government support was warranted, he said in response to questions from the Otago Daily Times.
"The Government intends to lead from the front, moving the Crown fleet to electric over the next few years."
If half the country’s vehicle fleet was electric by 2040, road transport emissions could be cut by about 40%, he said.
All sectors of the economy needed to play their part in being net-zero emissions by 2050. Transport was one area where New Zealand could make a big difference relatively easily through things like electric vehicles.
Ministry of Transport figures showed as of December 10, 2017, there were 5901 EVs in New Zealand, well in advance of the Government target of 4000 for the end of 2017.
If the growth continued at the current rate, the target of 16,000 EVs registered by the end of 2019 could be reached by the end of this year instead.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Ann Genter was the lead minister on electric vehicles.
Mr Shaw said Ms Genter had officials working on that area. Decisions would follow, although no exact timeframe was available. Earlier this week, the ODT reported there was a lack of supply of EVs from Japan.
The Ministry of Transport said a key limitation of EV uptake in New Zealand was the availability of used imports.
It said the supply from Japan was limited and growing only slowing.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority figures showed there were 6162 EVs registered in the year ended December.
Most (3216) were used light electrics, 1265 were new light pure electric and 1197 were new light plug-in hybrids. There were 408 used light plug-in hybrids and 76 heavy EVs.
The 6162 is 3615 more than the 2547 EVs registered at December 2016. About 5813 were recorded in November 2017.
Auckland dominated the EV share with 3026, well ahead of Wellington’s 789 and Canterbury’s 753. However, Otago was doing well on per capita ownership basis, having 231 EVs registered last year.
Individuals still owned more light EVs (new and used combined) than companies.
Businesses had lifted their new light EV ownership to 1042 — including car share providers like Yoogo — compared with 929 new light EVs in individual ownership, EVTalk said on its website.
"The Government aims to have 64,000 EVs on our roads by the end of 2021, with December’s progress target of 4000 reached five months early and the 2018 target of 8000 also expected to be easily surpassed," EVTalk said.
The NZ Transport Agency was seeking information for a nationwide electric vehicle charging infrastructure as it considered rolling out a further 41 electric vehicles across its fleet, BusinessDesk reportedIn a request for information notice, NZTA said it wanted to gather market intelligence which it would use to inform its approach when buying charging products and services. It would not use the process to select or shortlist suppliers.
NZTA would replace 139 of its 146 leased vehicles over the next 12 months. It now had two electric vehicles, one in Wellington and one in Auckland, and expected new EVs would be rolled out across different offices with a range of one to eight vehicles per site.
There would be 15 in Auckland in two different sites, six in Hamilton, one in Tauranga. one in Napier, five in Palmerston North, eight in Wellington, one in Blenheim, two in Christchurch and two in Dunedin.
The initial scope was for 41 EVs to be added in 2018 but it was likely other fleet cars would be replaced with electric vehicles over the next three to five years, NZTA said. The request covered information about providing, installing, operating and maintaining the charging stations. It did not include the supply of EVs.
The transport agency said it was ideally looking for a fleet charging solution that would enable staff to confidently move to and from NZTA locations in fully electric vehicles. It wanted a solution to maximise the utility of the EVs, mitigate any peak demand pricing impacts, comply with safety law and guidelines, conserve vehicle battery health. It would have to have the potential to integrate with existing software.
In May 2016, the previous government announced an electric vehicles programme aimed at increasing the uptake of electric vehicles in New Zealand to take advantage of renewable energy and reduce emissions.
In a November speech, new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government would require state-owned enterprises and other government organisations to pursue low-carbon options and technologies, including electric vehicles for all government vehicle fleets.
Responses for the NZTA request for information are due on January 29. NZTA then expects to provide an update to participants who submitted a response on the next step in the process on February 2.
Late last year, Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster told the ODT in an interview the recreational vehicle rental company was considering establishing its own network of charging stations.
The company planned to increase its use of EVs but was concerned there were not enough charging stations in New Zealand’s scenic destinations.