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Kiwi cousins put Aussies to shame, setting sights on electric transport network

The New Zealand government has vowed to invest $6 million dollars annually to subsidize and promote electric vehicle

The initiative bids to focus on encouraging business fleets to switch to electric powertrains, increasing the expected number of EVs on Kiwi roads from 2000 up to a generous, and perhaps over-estimated 60,000 in five years, according to NZ Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

“It’s clear that electric vehicles are the future,” he said in May. “A move from petrol and diesel to low emission transport is a natural evolution, and is out aim to encourage that switch sooner, rather than later.”

The government’s initiative package includes extending Road User Charges exemption on light EVs until they make up 2 percent of the fleet, government and private sector bulk EV purchases, $1 million annually to promote and inform via campaign to purchase EVs, allow EVs to access bus lanes on state highways and local roads, among other.

Waste Management NZ’s Tom Nickells has said the fleet of garbage trucks is about to transition to EV technology.

“They’re nowhere near as flashy as Teslas, but Waste Management’s rubbish trucks will soon be replaces with electric versions,” he said.

“We have a large fleet – 200 cars and 800 trucks,” Nickells continued, “We’re planning to convert the majority of our fleet across to full plug-in electric over the next several years.”

Two of New Zeland’s largest power companies, Mercury and Contact have joined PlugShare, a North American company, in the establishment of nation-wide EV charging stations. PlugShare is an app that informs drivers where charging stations are located, regardless of its ownership.

The trio plans to double the number of stations across both north and south islands to establish the Electric Highway Network, in an initiative to end range anxiety for EV owners.

“We already have more than 500 charging points registered in New Zealand and growing,” Mercury Energy boss Fraser Whineray said.

According to non-profit Drive Electric, over 1300 electric vehicles were registered in the Land of the Long White Cloud in June this year – now that number is closer to 1800.

“EV ownership is only going one way in New Zealand, and that’s up. This is NZ’s greatest green-growth opportunity,” Whineray said.

New Zealand has a target of 90 percent renewable electricity generation by 2025, and currently around 80 percent is generated from renewable sources. The LEAF drivingaverage commute for Kiwis in urban centres is 22km per day.

According to Nissan New Zealand, dealerships ceased new sales of the LEAF this year due to an apparent lack of commercial/marketplace cost viability. At January 2016, 86 LEAFs were imported new and sold under Nissan NZ dealerships, versus 309 imported used.

Find out more on EVs in NZ here.