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Increasing the uptake of plug-in vehicles

Options in plain sight for increasing uptake of plug-in vehicles

New Zealand needs to accelerate its shift to electric and hybrid fuelled vehicles to make meaningful progress on climate change, says the Motor Industry Association (MIA) and the Sustainable Business Council (SBC).

The two organisations have welcomed Transport Minister Simon Bridges’ support for increased use of plug-in vehicles this week. In a meeting with MIA yesterday the Minister signalled the Government is exploring how to encourage more car manufacturers to bring electric and hybrid electric vehicles into New Zealand.

However, both the MIA and SBC believe the Government needs to focus more on encouraging uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles, particularly among business fleets, to build strong demand in New Zealand.

The CEO of MIA, David Crawford said: “We really want to work with Government to support the transition to plug-in vehicles. We don’t think the issue is at the distribution end – at this stage it’s at the demand end, and that’s something the Government can address through smart policies that support businesses to switch their vehicle fleets to become more sustainable.”

SBC Executive Director Penny Nelson said that, right now, transport is this country’s biggest opportunity for addressing climate change and achieving ambitious emission reduction targets.

“We know that 48% of New Zealand’s emissions come from agriculture and while there is some exciting research underway, we are still years off being able to make significant emissions reductions in this area. Likewise in energy, our renewable generation already sits at around 80%.

“Our biggest opportunities in the short term will come from reducing emissions from transport. Supporting the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles is an important part of that,” she said.

MIA’s David Crawford said “New Zealand is unique in that each year businesses purchase around 70% of new vehicles. Only about 30% are bought by private purchasers. With the right conditions – that support uptake of plug-in vehicles - we can quickly shift the make-up of fleets purchased by businesses.”

The two organisations, MIA and SBC, are calling on the Government to:

• Create a fringe benefit tax holiday for plug-in vehicles when they are purchased by businesses

• Continue to exempt electric vehicles from road user charges beyond 2020; and

• Address residual vehicle values (the market value of a vehicle at the end of its lease) by adjusting depreciation rates for electric and hybrid vehicles

Penny Nelson said: “We don’t want subsidies for business vehicle fleets. But a range of short term incentives could create significant change over relatively short timeframes.”

“Plug-in vehicles are already coming to New Zealand. What we need are incentives that speed up the number of vehicles fleets that are hybrid electric or electric.”

ENDS


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