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Electric Cars Could Provide A Spark For Tourism

Electric cars could help the tourism industry improve its impacts on local communities and environments and become a renewed source of pride for New Zealand, Lincoln University post-doctoral researcher Dr Helen Fitt says.

Dr Fitt has launched a research project that will look at the potential to use non-polluting electric vehicles in tourism.

“Tourism generates a substantial amount of movement around New Zealand and now we have an opportunity to think about how we can make that movement work better for us.”

Dr Fitt would really like to hear from electric vehicle owners who are interested in being involved in the research.

“We want to hear about people’s experiences of using their EVs to travel around New Zealand so that we can start thinking about how to make the most of the opportunities open to us as we reboot tourism and encourage Kiwis to explore their own backyards.”

“Almost all the research done on electric vehicle use so far has focused on routine trips, like commuting, in urban areas.

“We have a real opportunity here to give our recovering tourism industry a spark of something new, exciting, and globally significant. It’s clearly not the only thing our tourism industry needs right now, but it might be one piece of the puzzle.”

She said recent reductions in car use during lockdown have improved local air quality and generated lots of interest in cleaner transport.

“While we’ve all been busily staying at home to save lives from COVID-19, we’ve probably also reduced deaths associated with poor air quality.”

A 2012 Health and Air Pollution in New Zealand report estimated that air pollution from traffic results in 256 premature deaths a year.[1]

As we work towards economic recovery, Dr Fitt says, it would make a lot of sense to think about how we can make our transport systems better...better for health, for the environment, and for society.

“EVs won’t solve all our transport problems; they won’t fix congestion and they’re unlikely to reduce the holiday road toll, but they could make our air cleaner”, reported Dr Fitt.

People interested in the research are encouraged to contact Dr Fitt at helen.fitt@lincoln.ac.nz

[1] https://www.transport.govt.nz/multi-modal/vehicleemissions/

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