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Tuesday, February 10

Government welcomes arrival of electric cars

Environment and Climate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith today welcomed the announcement that electric cars would be commercially available in New Zealand.

"This is the beginning of an exciting energy revolution as significant as the economic transformation from the steam engine to the internal combustion engine more than a century ago. I congratulate Hyundai and Mitsubishi for their announcements today.

"Electric cars have huge environmental benefits in that they are far more energy efficient, can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contribute no particulate or chemical pollution from exhausts and are far quieter than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

"The big advantage of electric cars is that they are so much more efficient than those powered by internal combustion engines and can recapture the energy of braking with the electric motor becoming a generator. The limitation has been their range but this is being extended with new battery technology.

"With 40 percent of New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions coming from vehicles, these electric cars can make a huge difference. New Zealand is particularly well placed for electric cars to reduce emissions with such a high proportion of our electricity produced from renewables.

"The Government is aware of the higher cost of frontier technology like electric cars. To assist and encourage environmental conscious New Zealanders to make the shift, we will be making electric cars exempt from road user charges. Officials are working with the Government on the implementation of this policy.

";New Zealanders have a reputation as early adopters of new technology and I hope there is strong uptake of this new clean, green technology.";

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