PAY­ING FOR OUR SINS

NZ Performance Car - - Editorial - Email: mar­cus@per­for­mance­car.co.nz In­sta­gram: mar­cus_nzpc­magazine

We are cur­rently in the mid­dle of the big­gest at­tack on our cul­ture since the main­stream me­dia fu­elled po­lice crack­downs on ‘boy rac­ers’ dur­ing the mid 2000s. Our fos­sil-fu­el­burn­ing days seem num­bered, and the push to­wards an elec­tric ve­hi­cle (EV)–based fleet spear­headed by the gov­ern­ment is go­ing to have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the way we en­joy cars — maybe not in this com­ing decade but cer­tainly in those to fol­low. We’re likely to be­come the lep­ers of the road, with pub­lic per­cep­tion shift­ing — much as it has on smok­ing — and there could well be a fu­ture in which we are spat at while grab­bing an­other tank of fos­sil juice to burn through. As a coun­try, we need to re­duce our car­bon emis­sions — of this I have no doubt or ar­gu­ment about — but I’m torn be­tween a love for in­ter­nal-combustion car cul­ture and look­ing af­ter our planet.

What re­ally grates me is hav­ing to pay for oth­ers to adapt to this new petrol-less way of life. Vec­tor es­ti­mates are be­tween a 100- and 2000-per-cent in­crease in elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion per house­hold, de­pen­dent on the rate of the charge sys­tem you choose, and that’s for only one car. While no one is ques­tion­ing New Zealand’s abil­ity to pro­duce enough re­new­able power to cover it, get­ting it to the bat­tery of your EV is an­other story. This is go­ing to re­quire sig­nif­i­cant up­grades to the cur­rent grid, which will more than likely be funded by any­one who pays for power in New Zealand — yip, hiked-up power bills to fund your neigh­bour’s EV, rather than a tariff on the pur­chase of an EV ve­hi­cle. There is also talk of a levy placed on the sale of combustion-en­gine ve­hi­cles to sub­sidise those who wish to pur­chase EVs to salt the wounds more.

Fur­ther, us in the big smoke of Auck­land have just been hit with yet an­other levy on our petrol price, with an­other na­tion­wide one due to hit later this year, to pay for road­ing and pub­lic trans­port in­fra­struc­ture. That’s over 20c more per litre, and it’s not likely to ever go down, as the gov­ern­ment wants us to shift away from petrol and, the more we do, the more the economies of scale will swing the op­po­site di­rec­tion for pe­tro­leum com­pa­nies. I shud­der to think what a litre will cost in 20 years. All of this spells less and less spare cash in the back pocket to waste on fu­elling PPs, stroked JZs, or heav­ily ported K24s just to head out on a Sun­day drive or cut a few laps.

I’m not against the shift; EVs are cheap to run and cheap to main­tain, which makes them a per­fect daily-driver if you’re a penny-pincher. Hell, I’ve driven a few and would hap­pily own one as a gro­cery-get­ter or even tow ve­hi­cle. I can see per­for­mance ben­e­fits in hy­brid con­ver­sions, and also think a per­for­mance EV would be a hell of a back-road carver. But, in say­ing that, I will also own in­ter­nal-combustion-pow­ered cars till the day I die, as there is a ro­mance in­volved — in the smell, the feel, and the sound — that an EV will never de­liver for the likes of my­self, and I sus­pect many of you will feel the same. Change is hap­pen­ing, and we’re all go­ing to help fund it. So I guess, in that case, we should all em­brace it, right? EV for the daily com­mute, sav­ing cash and the planet nine-to-five just so we can com­bust it all away on the week­ends … Well, while it lasts, any­way.

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