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Electric vehicle rEVolution

Within the next five to ten years, electric vehicles are predicted to be the same price as petrol or diesel options. This price parity, combined with increased battery performance, will be the tipping point for widespread uptake of electric vehicles.

Global trends

Bloomberg[1] is predicting the 2020s to be the decade of the electric vehicle.  Their analysis of the electric vehicle market predicts that by 2022, electric vehicles will cost the same to buy as their fossil-fuelled counterparts, and with Tesla announcing its Model 3 at US$35,000 that future is speeding towards us. 

EECA’s cost of ownership tool already indicates that when factoring in all costs relating to vehicle ownership, electrical vehicles are comparable to the costs of similar-sized traditional cars.

In 2015, electric vehicle sales increased by approximately 60%, and to predict this to continue is not unrealistic, given other ‘new’ technologies such as the Ford Model T and solar panels followed a similar growth curve.

IMAGE: Source:http://www.iea.org/evi/Global-EV-Outlook-2015-Update_1page.pdf

[1] ‘2016 EV Oil Crisis’ - Tom Randall, Bloomberg  - 25 Feb 2016 http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-ev-oil-crisis/

Green technology

Electric vehicles produce no emissions, which will help New Zealand achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.  

And because the majority of New Zealand’s electricity is produced from renewable energy sources (hydro, wind and geothermal), the electricity you use to charge your vehicle is also good for our environment.

Unison’s research

To better understand electric vehicles and when their uptake might affect our network, Unison purchased a Nissan Leaf in 2012, as part of its general vehicle fleet. 

By using the vehicle as part of our fleet, our employees’ experience with the vehicle provided us with a better understand what barriers to uptake existed in the minds of drivers.  Through feedback from our team, Unison have been able to learn more about how people perceived the technology, and also how it performed over time.

Employee feedback has been very positive, although some employees did take a little while to adjust to the knowledge they could not top up at fuel stations – a common barrier known as ‘range anxiety’.  The most common themes were that the vehicle was surprisingly responsive, easy to drive, and that users enjoyed the quietness afforded by the absence of a combustion engine.

We have also been keeping close watch on developments in other countries and drawing learnings from those most similar to New Zealand.  For example, Norway is a standout in terms of electric vehicle uptake, with the number of electric vehicles registered in Norway rising from similar to levels to New Zealand in 2011, to now make up 3% of the Norwegian fleet and over 25% of all new car sales.  This impressive growth has been supported and encouraged by Norwegian government incentives, and while the New Zealand Government’s support is not as extensive, the package announced in May 2016 to drive electric vehicle uptake still supports expectations of modest year-on-year growth in New Zealand toward a 2021 target of electric vehicles making up 2% of the New Zealand fleet [1].

[1]Govt driving the switch to electric vehicles”, Simon Bridges, 5 May 2016. 

Electric vehicle trends in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Ministry of Transport publishes monthly statistics and reports on our country’s vehicle fleet, with specific data relating to electric vehicles (including hybrids).

As at April 2016, 1220 light electric vehicles were registered in New Zealand – growing steadily from just a handful of registrations in 2013. 

Auckland is leading the charge when it comes to the uptake of electric vehicles, with the other main centres of Wellington and Christchurch rounding out the top three.  On a per capita basis, Northland also has a high number of electric vehicles.

2016 has also seen Air New Zealand incorporating electric vehicles into their fleet, with hybrid technology becoming more attractive to heavy fleet operators including bus services.

You can find the latest information on electric vehicle trends in New Zealand on the Ministry of Transport’s website.

Learn more about electric vehicles

The number of information sources on the internet regarding electric vehicles and charging is growing rapidly.  Here are a few we recommend if you would like to learn more about New Zealand’s uptake of this technology, and global trends.