Outgreening the Greens

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced the Government’s plans to get more New Zealanders behind the wheel of electric cars.

The Government package includes:

  • a target to double the number of electric vehicles on the roads, to reach 64,000 by 2021
  • extending the electric cars’ Road User Charge exemption to light vehicles (until electric cars make up 2 percent of all light vehicles)
  • new Road User Charge exemptions to heavy electric vehicles (until electric cars make up 2 percent of all heavy vehicles)
  • working to purchase electric vehicles in bulk across the Government and private sector
  • government agencies to support the development and roll-out of public charging stations, as well as information and guidance
  • $1 million annually for nationwide vehicle information and promotion for the next five years
  • $6 million per year to encourage and support innovative low emission vehicles
  • allowing electric vehicles in bus lanes, and high occupancy lanes on the State Highway network and local roads
  • review of tax depreciation rates and calculations to ensure electric vehicles aren’t unfairly disadvantaged
  • establishing an electric vehicle leadership group with local business and central Government

“Electric vehicles will maximise New Zealand’s renewable advantage, and with more than 80 percent of the country’s electricity coming from hydro, geothermal and wind. The increased use of electric vehicles will replace petrol and diesel with clean green, locally produced energy,” Mr Bridges says.

The push is an effort to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles as well as petrol consumption; a typical petrol car emits more than its weight in CO2 per year (about 2 tonnes).

Many countries already provide incentives to purchase electric cars, including Norway, Germany and the Denmark.

In principle there is nothing wrong with looking for more energy efficient and renewable “biased” ways to do things.  But when they only become viable through subsidies, we’ve seen time and time again where that leads.  Hugely expensive (to the taxpayer) white elephants.

More interesting are the moves by ACT and National to position themselves as more green than the Green Party.  I doubt there will be a lot of votes in that, as most Green supporters are also communists, marxists and eco-loons.

That said, National’s strategy to try and be a little bit of everything to everyone takes a lot of the “need to change” out of the electorate, so you have to appreciate the pragmatism.

– Newshub


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  • Terry

    And where’s the electricity gonna come from? And the charging points? As a very satisfied owner of a Lexus CT200 hybrid, the answer time is a no-brainer: hybrids: self-charging and needing less than half of my previous petrol usage.

    • MaryLou

      Wait till Te Wai closes – and it will, can’t keep upping the concessions forever…

      • Grizz30

        I agree here. Surely the reduction in petrol imports outweighs the loss of electricity exports from the smelter. Now try to sell that idea to Invercargill!

    • Jax

      Mighty River Power chief executive Fraser Whineray said New Zealand had enough power capacity in New Zealand to “drive every single car as electric”.

      The grid had “plenty of capacity” to absorb the government’s plug-in electric vehicle target, he said.

      “64,000 cars is just one fifth of our new Ngatamariki geothermal power station’s output.”

      • OneTrack

        Unfortunately my back of the envelope calculation is either radically wrong or he is telling porkies.

  • Seriously?

    In New Zealand there is no political monopoly on being “green”. New Zealanders love this place and none of us want to see it degraded.

    The Greens have missed a boat by adopting social policy at all, but particularly social policy at an extreme. They have left the door ajar for National to undermine its base by not only having green ambitions, but also being able to put those into action.

    National did exactly the same to Labour when it took over the center of politics, and now it is the Green’s turn. They only have themselves to blame.

  • sheppy

    Being able to drive them in Auckland Transports congestion creating bus lanes just made them a lot more viable as a transport choice. It could also cut congestion by making better use of largely empty road space.

  • Anthony

    So can we expect the next batch of ministerial cars to be Teslas?

    • cows4me

      Funny I just saw a pig fly past the window.

    • benniedawg

      Would be nice to see but given their price perhaps the petrol BMW is a bit softer on my tax bill.

  • ridsel

    There’s a lot of money to be made by importing and selling electric cars at cost (undercutting existing vehicle retailers) if any of the electricity generators or retailers realise that they don’t need to make money on the car itself if they lock in the income from the electricity it will use.

    • sheppy

      Technically it’s kind of already being done. Sponsor of Map of the day, What Power Crisis are importing them, or at least they were, and they’ve recently been bought by Mighty River Power who also own I think Mercury

  • Gladwin

    All we need now are some electric cars to buy! Hyundai have announced a range, hopefully we’ll see them soon.

  • Grizz30

    I welcome the notion that electric vehicles will not always get away with not paying road user charges. Once uptake inertia gets to a certain level they will have to join other road users in paying for the roads. The Greens would give them free roads forever. However with current battery technology 2% of vehicles seems a long way off.

    • pidge

      Look at the trips that most people take on a daily basis, and current battery tech is more than enough. It does depend on your situation. For me, I think a Nissan Leaf could get me to and form work for a week before needing to be recharged. A Tesla Model S 90D would manage about 3 weeks.

      • Grizz30

        It is not just the range of the battery that is the issue. They are very expensive and they have a limited life span. Elon Musk thinks he has a solution for some of these problems but it remains to be seen.

  • Jax

    The one hour a morning trip down Onewa road eliminated by using the carpool lane. That is tempting indeed. Not to mention the Tesla P90 is a sexy machine.. albeit not that cheap especially when converted to NZ dollars and all the add on taxes to get it here.

    • Jax

      Just thinking about this now – does that mean you could drive on the Northern Express Busway – seems to suggest you could make an enormous difference if you say lived in Orewa or something. Well worth a 20k Nissan Leaf.

  • James M

    “a typical petrol car emits more than its weight in CO2 per year (about 2 tonnes).”

    Interesting, my 1997 2 liter turbo station wagon consumes just under 1000 liters of fuel a year. I do a lot of driving both in Auckland and long distance. I would say I cover k’s above what you would call the average driver.

    Now a liter of petrol weighs just shy of 1Kg. But to make the math easier we’ll round it up and say that it does weigh exactly one Kg. So if my above average driving witch consumes 1000 liters of petrol in an old model vehicle happen to turn 100% into CO2 out the tail pipe (trust me there are other things that come out the tail pipe besides CO2) then that would only place my vehicles CO2 production at 1 Ton.

    You can’t make 1 Ton of fuel into anything more then that same weight in CO2 even with 100% fuel to CO2 conversion.

    • Will

      Most of the weight of CO2 is Oxygen, already in the atmosphere.

      • James M

        Absolutly valid point.

        I was waiting for this exact response. Slight flaw I realized after my post.

        However this brings me back to the “not everything from the tail pipe is CO2” point. Most of the carbon atoms within the hydrocarbon molecules that make up fuel are expelled simply as carbon, not CO2.

        Most of the oxygen atoms that are taken into and an internal combustion engine n bind to hydrogen atoms producing steam and water out the back end of the vehicle.

        • pidge

          Modern engines run close to stoichiometric (~14:1 oxygen to octane) to minimise soot and carbon monoxide.
          Petrol + Oxygen + spark => Carbon Dioxide + Water
          balanced equations is apparently 2C8H18 + 25O2 ==> 16CO2 + 18H2O (+ energy)
          LHS has
          228.46g Octane
          799.97g Oxygen

          RHS has
          704.16g CO2
          324.27g Water

          One litre of octane is about 703g. So 1 litre of Octane, fully combusted, produces 2167g of Carbon Dioxide.
          Allowing for some soot for for rich mixtures during heavy acceleration is still going to be more than 2kg of Carbon Dioxide every litre of fuel, on average.

          And not wanting to seem nit-picky, I wish they’d use “CO2” or “carbon dioxide”, not the shorthand Carbon.

          Oh, and more CO2? More plants! Greener planet!

    • Michelle

      CO2 is part of photosynthesis from what l learnt at school so the plants would be happy

  • Nesher

    The National’s “pragmatism” is aimed to expand National’s electoral base further left. It has nothing to do with making our country a better place. A better word for this sort of pragmatism is “populism”.

  • Toby

    Its a master class in politics.
    If the greens congratulate the government then it removes the need for change.
    If they complain it doesn’t go far enough they just look looney and extreme.