The New Zealand Herald
What NZ should do to electrify its fleet
New Zealand politicians need to get more ambitious with electric vehicle incentives if they want to meet targets and are serious about cutting carbon emissions, says the secretary general of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, Christina Bu.
She says this country should follow the lead of Norway in taxing large, polluting private vehicles and set more ambitious targets to get more EVs on the road.
“I think politicians are exaggerating the difficulties of doing something. It doesn't have to be too much but taxing the most polluting cars that people don't need to buy and then help and incentivise the cars that they do want us to buy.''
Bu is in New Zealand meeting industry, fleet buyers and politicians to discuss what this country can learn from Norway's conversion to electric vehicles.
Close to 50 per cent of new-car registrations in Norway are now full battery electric or hybrid cars, helped by tax incentives and other sweeteners.
Large petrol-driven cars are taxed heavily while EV buyers don't pay import taxes or VAT in Norway, where cars and petrol are expensive.
Free inner-city parking at chargers and permission to use bus lanes also helped boost uptake but these incentives were being wound back, with more decisions being made by different cities.
In September, 10,600 new cars sold in Norway were electric, dwarfing New Zealand's fleet which stands at just 11,000 registered EVs, although the rate of increase in the fleet is accelerating.
More than 5000 have been registered in this year alone and more than 30 key companies have committed to a fleet of 30 per cent of EVs by next year.
The last government set a target of 64,000 EVs in New Zealand by 2021, still a tiny fraction of the 3.38 million light vehicles on the road.
Bu said central government and local government agencies needed to commit to buying more EVs and where appropriate ministerial cars should also be electric.
New Zealand, with about 80 per cent of power generated from renewable sources, was ideally suited for EVs and more of them would avoid the need to import expensive oil.
Lines company Vector this year said this country needed to build a strong electricity infrastructure to handle electric vehicle uptake.
It said the amount of power required to charge an EV with a longdistance battery, at home in the suburbs, could strain existing infrastructure.
Bu said smart charging could help alleviate stress on infrastructure and batteries in cars could also feed power back to the grid.