Incentives for electric vehicles
Shorter commute times are being used as an incentive to encourage more New Zealanders to consider driving electric vehicles.
The Government wanted 64,000 electric vehicles being driven in New Zealand by the end of 2021, with the aim of helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Ministry of Transport was working on amending legislation to allow electric vehicles to use some high occupancy (T2) lanes and bus lanes, regardless of how many occupants were in the vehicle.
NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) was consulting on a bylaw that would allow electric vehicles access to 10 T2 lanes and one bus lane in Auckland for a 12-month trial.
Of the 11 proposed lanes, three were on Auckland’s North Shore. The T2 and truck lane, southbound on-ramp, Constellation Drive; T2 and truck lane, southbound on-ramp, Greville Rd; and the bus lane, northbound on-ramp, Upper Harbour Highway.
The Upper Harbour Highway bus lane was the only bus lane NZTA considered suitable for electric vehicles at the moment.
In anticipation of the legislative changes, NZTA ran a 14-day trial allowing electric vehicles access to five Auckland on-ramps in March.
NZTA found 78 per cent of electric vehicle drivers who took part in the trial said access to T2 lanes improved their journey time, with 94 per cent stating that if additional special vehicle lanes were made available to electric vehicle drivers they would use them long-term.
Transport Agency group manager for planning and investment Robert Brodnax said providing incentives to encourage electric vehicle uptake was an important component of the Government’s Electric Vehicle Programme.
He said while some of bylaw feedback focused on the impact of electric vehicles in bypass lanes this wasn’t included in the trial.
Legislative changes to the Land Transport Act 1998 were expected to come into force on in July, with changes to the Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 and Land Transport Rule: Traffic Control Devices 2004 expected in August.
Following the changes it would be up to individual road controlling authorities to make suitable special vehicle lanes available to electric vehicles by making bylaws.
Consultation closes on August 3.