The New Zealand government is putting together a package of incentives to encourage more people to with to electric vehicles, even as the number of EV registrations reach 10,000.
“Countries who are dragging the chain need to get their act together,” minister for climate change James Shaw said this week. And this apparently includes New Zealand.
The promise comes as New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ahern, prepares to address the United Nations Climate Week in New York to promote New Zealand’s initiatives geared at curbing climate change.
So, it is not on track to reach its 2030 and 2050 targets, which seems to be the reason why it is proposing new initiatives on EVS.
“Like every other country in the world, we’ve got to bin the curve,” Shaw told NZ news site Newshub.
New Zealand’s transport emissions account for 17 per cent of all greenhouse emissions, and the country has already taken some measures, unlike Australia, to encourage EVs.
In 2016, a series of measures were introduced to push EV uptake, including a target of 2% of the entire country’s vehicle fleet by the end of 2021 (which required at the time a doubling of EV registration each year), and the introduction of a contestable fund for electric vehicle projects.
Road user charges are also off the table for New Zealanders buying EVs until June 2020 – but this has not been enough.
While the details of the new EV package being put together by the NZ government are still in the making, the minister did say it may involve a ‘feebate’ scheme, where buyers of high emissions vehicles are slugged with extra purchase fees and buyers of low or zero emissions vehicles receive a rebate.
It’s certainly buoying news that 10,000 electric and hybrid vehicles are now on NZ roads, but this forms only 0.025% of the country’s entire fleet of approximately 4 million vehicles – meaning to reach its current targets, about 20,000 EVs need to be registered over the next 3 years or so.
At the end of 2013 – less than five years ago, only 39 light EVs were registered in New Zealand.
This has increased dramatically in the succeeding years, as is shown on the NZ government’s transport ministry website, with approximately 500 EVs now being registered each month.
Purchases of EVs in New Zealand are largely made up of used car imports, with the Nissan LEAF dominating the market.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.