To EV or not to EV, that is the question?!

Chamber media release 5.5.19

NorthChamber recently acquired an electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid to be precise (PHEV). Our decision to do so was based purely on our commitment to sustainability and a cleaner healthier environment. So, post-purchase, it came as a surprise that neither local nor central government seem to give a ‘fig’ regarding the values that led us to this decision.

There are (currently) no Government-led initiatives to reward members of the community prepared to make the move to an EV, this despite the many benefits offered in countries around the world to their EV early adopters. There is an argument that EV drivers are currently not paying road user charges, but that’s about it. We currently have circa 12,000 EV’s registered in New Zealand, a long way from the 64,000 Government wants in use by 2021.

In line with other nations I had expected us (New Zealand, a supposed leader in matters environmental) to have moved swiftly to bolster the EV buying decision, but some years into the marketing and purchase cycle we see…. Nothing!

Local Government has made a small effort that being (in Whangarei at least) two charging stations close to the CBD. A third unit has been put in by Northpower Energy, something we hope can be extended to many other points throughout the Region (with Central Government help).

Overseas support of EV sales growth is linked to everything from government subsidy of the capital cost, alongside reductions in local taxes and subsidy for recharging stations. I would have thought ‘we’ could expect reductions in tolls, cheaper registration, a subsidy of parking fees and of course many more charging points around the country. Currently, without these types of incentives, the decision is purely environmentally based and as such too much of a premium for the average business owner, or domestic motorist. So, when it comes to the Government’s target of 64000 vehicles by 2021, it would seem that ‘hot air’ has again been released into the atmosphere.


Stephen Smith

CE – NorthChamber

NZ Chambers of Commerce Northland

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