National announce new electric vehicle target for government fleet

MAARTEN HOLL/STUFF

Bill English pledges to roll out electric cars

The National Party has pledged one in three cars in the Government's fleet will be electric by 2021.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Bill English in front of a charging station outside the The Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt on Saturday. 

Currently the Government has a fleet of about 15,500 cars, and Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the transition will help achieve the "ambitious target of having 64,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand by 2021".

Bill English pledges to roll out electric cars

Bill English pledges to roll out electric cars

"Electric vehicles purchased in the Government fleet will flow through to the second hand market, which is essential to increasing uptake and incentivising more charging stations," said Bridges. 

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The change in fuel costs mean the shift should come without any significant cost to the Government, he said.

National supporters turned out in Lower Hutt to hear the announcement.
BRAD FLAHIVE

National supporters turned out in Lower Hutt to hear the announcement.

"On average an electric vehicle is the equivalent to buying petrol at 30 cents a litre, compared to petrol which is about $2."

The Prime Minister shared with the crowd that had gathered his "light bulb moment" when he first got into an electric car on a visit to Australia. 

"One thing that struck me is how quiet they are, but also how powerful they are," English said.

"There's no doubt electric cars are part of New Zealand's future, which make a load of sense because we have an abundance of renewable energy."

With over 85 per cent of the country's electricity generated from renewable sources, and the Government's spokeswoman for Climate Change Paula Bennett says the "emission reduction benefits of electric vehicles in New Zealand are greater than in other countries".

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"Driving a fully electric vehicle results in 80 per cent less emissions than driving petrol vehicles. Transport makes up around 17 per cent of New Zealand's emissions so this is an important part of our work to reduce emissions in the transport sector." 

More key points from National's electric vehicle scheme

Road user charges on light and heavy class electric vehicles are exempt until each class make up 2 per cent of its vehicle fleet.
* A $6 million annual contestable fund encouraging to encourage innovation for low emission vehicle projects.
* Changes to the Land Transport Act will allow electric vehicles in bus lanes and high-occupancy lanes on the State Highway network.
* A review of ACC levies relating to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. 

 - Stuff

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