Small electric car, big Auckland plan

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 11:01 20/02/2014
Tango
IT TAKES TWO: Toa Greeing, left, with Tango creator, Rick Woodbury

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Tiny two seater electric cars could be ruling Auckland's motorways if an entrepreneur convinces politicians.

Toa Greenig, the founder of Project Microcar, wants Auckland Council to lead a public private partnership to purchase 15,000 Tango electric cars and lease them to commuters.

Mr Greenig says the $435 million required to fund his proposal would provide a timely, cost-effective solution for rush-hour traffic congestion.

The car, which he wants produced in Auckland, would benefit all motorists, he says.

At just under 1 metre wide, two staggered columns of Tangos can safely use the same motorway lane, just like motorbikes can, he says.

The Manukau based IT engineer cites a Belgian study that shows a 2.5 per cent shift from car to motorbike ownership eliminated motorway congestion.

Eliminating existing congestion would remove the need to keep adding motorway lanes, he says.

According to a brochure from the Tango's manufacturer, a weekly 300 kilometre commute would cost $15 in electric charging.

Mr Greenig has so far presented to seven local boards. Board members have generally been "intrigued and supportive" about his plans, he says.

He calculates the project's set-up cost would be recovered within 10 years with "break even" $55 per week vehicle leases.

But Upper Harbour Local Board member Callum Blair says, "he just couldn't see it happening". Overcoming scepticism is a problem, admits Mr Greenig, but he hopes Auckland Council will fund a $1 million, multi-vehicle trial he's planning.

"The biggest challenge is letting them see and drive the vehicles and think 'perhaps this idea might work?"'

Watch Jay Leno check out the Tango and take it for a ride in the clip below.

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- North Shore Times

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