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Clean Car Standard

The announcement from government:

“If we don't move forward with policies like the Clean Car Standard and the Clean Car Discount, New Zealand will become a dumping ground for the world's dirtiest vehicles.

“At the moment we have one of the dirtiest fleets coming into our country because of the lack of standard to date – we are resolving that,” he said.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said he hoped the scheme would put the handbrake on gas-guzzling vehicles making their way into the country.

Under the Clean Car Discount, imported electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, both new and used, will be eligible for a rebate.

The cars need to be less than $80,000 and have at least a three-star safety rating.

“Importantly, the policy only applies to new and used cars arriving in New Zealand, so the existing second-hand market of cars that lower-income families tend to purchase from will not be affected,” Wood said.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the Climate Change Commission's report on how the country should move towards net zero emissions by 2050.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said transport had the fastest growing emission profile in New Zealand.

“Dealing with the energy that we use to get around within and between our cities is one of the, if not the most urgent of all our climate change challenges,” he said.

The scheme is predicted to bring an additional 19,000 clean vehicles into the country's vehicle fleet in the first year of operation.

Drive Electric chairman Mark Gilbert said hundreds of thousands of EVs were needed to meet the Government's climate targets and the announcement was a step change.

“Most importantly, this announcement says to global car manufacturers New Zealand is serious about EVs.”

Comment from the Opposition:

National Party transport spokesperson Michael Woodhouse said it was a tax by stealth.

“We welcome incentives, but my concern is that so many New Zealanders, tradies, large families, people in rural and remote areas are going to be asked to pay for this, but not actually have the choice to benefit from it.

The unmentioned reality of this decision:

We will change from being a dumping ground for the world’s dirtiest vehicles to a dumping ground for second hand EV’s for which we will not be able to afford to either replace the batteries or be able to recycle the used batteries.

At the same time if we are to change the majority of our fleet to EV’s then what are we going to do with all of the existing internal combustion powered vehicles (approximately 7 million of them)?

The rest of the world is going down the same path of electrification say our government experts so the ICE vehicles will not have a market outside of NZ.

The minister has been telling us that the price of EV’s will come down with many second hand models now being in the lower price brackets. That may be so but these second hand models will need the batteries replaced eventually and that is no small value purchase.

A recent example was quoted by an owner of a second hand vehicle, finding that when the battery needed to be replaced the cost of the replacement battery was nearly twice the original cost of purchase for the vehicle.

Obviously it then means that people are not going to replace failing batteries they will just purchase another second hand vehicle.

This will then end up with unusable vehicles with batteries that will not be able to be recycled, being dumped. So now we have not just a lot of ICE vehicles being scrapped but we will also have a lot of second hand EV’s being dumped as well.

Some facts about EV’s:

In March this year Toyota reiterated an opinion it has offered before. That opinion is straightforward: The world is not yet ready to support a fully electric auto fleet.

Toyota’s head of energy and environmental research Robert Wimmer testified before the US Senate and said: “If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refuelling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability.”

Wimmer noted that while manufacturers have announced these ambitious goals, just 2% of the world’s cars are electric at this point. For price, range, infrastructure, affordability, and other reasons, buyers continue to choose ICE over electric, and that’s even when electric engines are often subsidized with tax breaks to bring price tags down.

A 2017 U.S. government study found that they would need about 8,500 strategically-placed charge stations to support a fleet of just 7 million electric cars.

The final report from the Climate Change Commission has set New Zealand almost identical goals for electrification and we will face the same challenges. New Zealand has approximately seven million vehicles in our fleet.

Simply put, we are going to need a bigger electricity generation capacity and upgraded infrastructure to deal with connecting all those cars to the electricity grid. A LOT bigger!!!!

We will need much more generation capacity to power about 7 million cars if we’re all going to be forced to drive electric cars. Whether we’re charging them at home or charging them on the road, we will be charging them frequently. Every gas station you see on the roadside today will have to be wired to charge electric cars, and charge speeds will have to be greatly increased. Current technology enables charges in “as little as 30 minutes”. That best-case-scenario fast charging cannot be done on home power. It uses direct current and specialized systems.

Charging at home can take, from a few hours to overnight to fill the battery, and will increase the home power bill.

We already have weather related generation issues with power supply even at current usage levels. The government has already banned any further oil or gas exploration which will mean that we will soon run out of natural gas as a generating fuel and with their moves to ban the use of coal, we will move to increasing usage of wind and solar, neither of which can be throttled to meet demand, and both of which prove unreliable in crisis. Wind simply runs counter to needs — it generates too much power when we tend not to need it, and generates too little when we need more. The storage capacity to account for this doesn’t exist yet.

In actual fact we are woefully short of the generation capacity that will be required and have, nowhere even remotely approaching, a satisfactory level of electricity grid infrastructure in place to achieve the government’s targets of electrification of our fleet.

Half an hour is an unacceptably long time to spend at an electron pump. It’s about 5 to 10 times longer than a current trip to the gas pump tends to take. That’s for consumer cars, not big rigs that have much larger tanks. Imagine the lines that would form at the pump, every day, all the time, if a single charge time isn’t reduced by 70 to 80 percent. We can expect improvements, but those won’t come without cost. Nothing does. There is no free lunch. Electrifying the auto fleet will require a massive overhaul of the power grid and an enormous increase in power generation.

Toyota has publicly warned about this twice. Toyota isn’t saying none of this can be done, by the way. It’s just saying that so far, the conversation isn’t anywhere near serious enough to get things done.

Toyota’s addressing reality and its record is evidence that it deserves to be heard.

The New Zealand government is pushing to go electric. Without a solid financially supported plan to address our shortcomings in the electricity infrastructure in relation to electric vehicles.

Our government has stated many times recently that the price of EV’s will come down with more of them becoming available over time. Is this based on the history of fossil fuelled vehicles, because in my world I fail to see anywhere where the prices of vehicles of any kind have dropped? I may be a bit slow but I believe this is an issue of supply and demand in both EV’s and the electricity to power them.

I have yet to see any evidence anywhere around the world where there is a supply shortfall of an item that leads to a drop in prices. In fact in my experience the exact opposite is normal, i.e. when you have a shortfall in supply the prices rise on the back of an increased demand!

And then we can look at the price of electricity in New Zealand and see that there has been a steady increase in the price of power with no signs that anytime in the future there is going to be a drop in price. In fact I believe that as the demand increases and outstrip supply the prices will raise markedly!

For a classic example of how this works we just need to look back a couple of years to the decision to deregulate the power generation industry in New Zealand. At the time the government of the day said that it would lead to wholesale drops in the price of electricity and this has been proven to be the absolute opposite of what has happened to prices. They have risen!!!!

Given all of the above issues around lack of forward planning and financial analysis, in my opinion electrification of our total vehicle fleet is more about virtue signalling to win favour around the world and in the media than it is about addressing reality.

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