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Chch: Pilot Study Finds Opportunities For Electric Vehicles

UC Pilot Study Finds Opportunities For Electric Vehicles In Christchurch

February 28, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) pilot study has found Christchurch has a number of suitable features and excellent opportunities for deployment of electric vehicles.

The rebuild was indicated as a particular opportunity to put in place policies and infrastructure, such as charging points at workplaces, to create an electric-vehicle-friendly environment, UC energy researcher Dr Ian Mason said today.

His research team interviewed local government, the electricity industry, non-government organisations, fleet management and private electric vehicle users.

Despite cheaper electricity battery charging costs, the study found that high initial capital costs of new vehicles and unknown resale value were barriers to converting from petrol and diesel cars to battery-run vehicles.

The study indicated that greater education and public awareness was needed to encourage more people to consider switching their cars to electric vehicles.

``Anecdotal evidence suggests once people have tried an electric vehicle they really enjoy them. The majority of motorists’ journeys are well within the range of a full charge.

``Opportunities exist for charging points at home and around the city, and New Zealand electricity has high renewable energy content hence low greenhouse gas emissions - compared to many other countries,’’ Dr Mason said.

The project was carried out to assess the support for battery vehicles in Christchurch. Most people realised the potential lifetime savings over existing car engines.

The research indicated that a united front of interest groups and those in favour of battery vehicle use should petition the development of their use to increase public awareness.

The advent of modern lithium chemistry based batteries with improved energy density and performance in conjunction with continued development of more efficient motor controllers and chargers has resulted in the vehicles becoming a viable transport alternative.

The pilot study said in the present climate of rising fuel prices and global warming the vehicles had become a more prominent potential transport solution.

``New Zealand’s modest average private commuting distance and large sources of renewable hydro, wind and geothermal energy makes the vehicles a more practical proposition than they might be in other countries,’’ the report said.

``On average light duty vehicles in New Zealand typically travel less than 40 kilometres a day and only 10 percent of these vehicles cover distances of more than 84 kilometres. This is well within the range capabilities of commercially available battery electric vehicles.”


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