New Zealand shows Australia how to support our Plug-In Cars Future 

Most developed countries around the world are embracing a new sustainable transport future. Capped subsidy and incentive policy programs are supporting the take up of Plug-In Cars and emerging low emissions transport technologies.

Providing EV support policies are important parts of overall programs by governments in the USA, Europe, UK and Asia for lowering carbon emissions to combat increasing air pollution and a warming planet.

Australia has been left behind once again with the announcement on 5th May 2016 that our New Zealand cousins have launched an EV support policy to encourage the take up of Battery Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles in their country. It’s a modest program, however it’s an important step signalling that New Zealand understands the future of mobility is electric.

Key Points in the New Zealand Government EV support Policy.

  • A target of doubling the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand every year to reach approximately 64,000 by 2021
  • Extending the Road User Charges exemption on light electric vehicles until they make up two percent of the light vehicle fleet
  • A new Road User Charges exemption for heavy electric vehicles until they make up two percent of the heavy vehicle fleet
  • Work across Government and the private sector to investigate the bulk purchase of electric vehicles
  • Government agencies coordinating activities to support the development and roll-out of public charging infrastructure including providing information and guidance
  • $1 million annually for a nation-wide electric vehicle information and promotion campaign over five years
  • A contestable fund of up to $6 million per year to encourage and support innovative low emission vehicle projects
  • Allowing electric vehicles in bus lanes and high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the State Highway network and local roads
  • Review of tax depreciation rates and the method for calculating fringe benefit tax for electric vehicles to ensure electric vehicles are not being unfairly disadvantaged
  • Establishing an electric vehicles leadership group across business, local and central government

New Zealand Ministry of Transport Policy: Click Link

Australia’s inaction on EV policy support can damage our economy and our environment.

Transport in Australia contributes around 16% or more of our countries Greenhouse emissions and of that, the light vehicle and passenger car sectors contribute around 10% of our Greenhouse emissions.

And yet in all the emissions control discussions and new technology opportunities in Australia, there is a complete head in the sand attitude about the effect that Internal Combustion Powered transport has on the planet.

Australian Government Climate Change Authority Transport Report: Click Link

Some interesting points to consider:

  • Governments in the USA, Europe, United Kingdom, Japan, China, many other Asian countries and now New Zealand have capped EV support policy programs. Australia does notWhy?
  • Do government policies play a vital role to drive change and the development of new technologies for a sustainable future?  Yes
  • Norwegian and Netherlands governments have announced policies declaring that as from 2025, vehicles power solely by Internal Combustion Engine technology will not be sold in those countries. Germany plans to do similar by 2050 and Paris and London are banning the use of internal combustion powered vehicles in their cities by 2020.  (Only Plug-In Vehicles allowed)
  • Does the fossil fuel industry heavily subsidise old carbon intensive Internal Combustion Engine vehicle technology?  Yes
  • Australia’s vehicle manufacturing industry is winding up in 2017. There is no threat to local vehicle manufacturing industry in Australia if there are capped subsidies for Plug-In Cars and charging infrastructures.  Why no support policy?
  • Can Australian Industry produce battery technology and raw materials for the worlds growing cleaner transport manufacturing future?  Yes
  • Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is in mortal danger from a warming planet. Could an EV support policy play a support role to reduce environmental impacts as part of a larger emissions reduction plan for Australia? Yes
  • All major vehicle manufactures and prioritising a ramp up to produce Plug-In Cars. Do Government carbon emissions policies and subsidy programs influence change?  Yes
  • The price of Plug-In Cars is dropping and the race is on to bring low cost long range EV’s to market. Does that influence customer choice?  Yes
  • General Motors, Tesla, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota, VW and now Ford are racing to deliver mass market low cost long range Plug-In Cars from 2017.
  • Ford is classic example of the quantum shift away from Internal Combustion Engine powered cars to a Plug-In Car future. They announced that 40% of all their vehicle production will be Plug-In Cars by 2020.
  • Are Plug-In Cars cheaper to fuel and maintain than ICE powered cars?  Yes 
    • Petrol price in Australia would need to be 60 cents per litre to compete with recharging costs for an EV using a standard retail tariff rate
    • Petrol Price would need to be 30 cents per litre to compete with recharging an EV on of peak tariff rates
    • Annual service costs for a Nissan LEAF EV are approx. $300. A similar sized ICE powered car costs around $1,200 – $1,500 service cost per year
  • Do Plug-In Cars lower emissions if powered by fossil fuelled power stations?  Yes
    • EV’s are 4 time more efficient as Internal Combustion Powered cars and use much less relative energy to travel similar distance
    • EV’s recharged with coal fire powered energy produce between 10% to 24% less drive time emissions compared to ICE powered cars due to their efficiency (emissions percentage varies depending on the quality of fuel used to provide power) 
    • EV’s recharged with Solar, Wind Turbine, Hydro or other renewable power generation systems produce Zero drive time emissions.
  • Is Australia at risk of being a dumping ground for old polluting Internal Combustion Engine vehicles without a federal government policies supporting take up of new Plug-In Car’s in Australia? Yes

The world is shifting to low emissions Plug-In Cars and faster than the general population in Australia realise.

Wouldn’t it be better for Australia to be a key player in the change to Plug-In Cars instead of standing by with our heads in the sand and being left behind?


About Author

With more than 25 years of professional experience across the automotive and energy industries in Australia, Geoff’s corporate life included leading Origin Energy’s eMobility (EV) business. While at Origin, Geoff experienced the explosion of information and advancement surrounding the changes in cleaner, faster and smarter transport solutions, plug-in vehicles and associated new smart technologies. Geoff's nickname at Origin was 'Mr. EV'. Recognizing the need from within the Australian industry for reliable, relevant and consistent online information, Geoff created with a view to providing a reputable reference point that focusses on the sustainable transport evolution, plug-in vehicle developments, charging solutions and smart energy innovations from around the world. In addition to monitoring global and local developments, Geoff continues to work closely with innovative vehicle manufactures, energy companies, government bodies, and vehicle charging organisations to ensure real eCarInsight. You can get in touch with Geoff via the eCarInsight email address

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