Time To Drive Into A Zero Carbon Future – Dunne

UnitedFuture leader, Hon Peter Dunne, has congratulated Staglands Wildlife Reserve for establishing their own electric car charging station as part of Drive Electric Week.

Mr Dunne, who recently announced UnitedFuture’s own electric vehicle policy, attended the opening of the charging station yesterday and test drove a Nissan Leaf.

“It is undebatable that electric vehicles are the future of transport in New Zealand, we need to be following countries like France and Norway that are really leading the charge in terms of driving electric.

“The Government has set its own targets for increasing the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand and have pulled a few levers to try and encourage ownership, but it doesn’t target the key drivers that will affect EV ownership,” said Mr Dunne.

“What people want is a vehicle that is cost effective and a vehicle that they can be confident will take them from point A to point B.

UnitedFuture has announced a policy to allow a grant of up to $5000 (or 30% of cost, whichever is smaller) for the purchase of an electric vehicle or electric vehicle infrastructure.

“The point of the policy is to recognise that the future of transport must be carbon neutral and what we need is a critical mass of electric vehicles in New Zealand as a base to build from.

“UnitedFuture’s policy offers up to a $5000 grant for the purchase of an electric vehicle, so if you went to purchase a second hand Nissan Leaf, which can cost approximately $15,000, we want to help you do that by removing a third of the cost.

“Moreover, we want to ensure you can access the same grant for building charging stations, like the one that has just been set up at Staglands Wildlife Reserve.

According to Wellington electric vehicle owner and enthusiast Sigurd Magnusson, who spoke at the launch, there is a growing level of infrastructure appearing in New Zealand:

“SH1 will have fast chargers almost every 80km from Whangarei to Bluff end of this year. Steve West from Charge.Net is largely responsible for delivering this brilliant accomplishment. The next challenge will be adding capacity at sites to avoid queuing,” said Mr Magnusson.

UnitedFuture’s policy targets this type of initiative and seeks to support faster growth and more innovation in this area.

“We are now seeing stations being built that can charge a vehicle in 20 minutes, that is the kind of infrastructure our policy tries to attract to New Zealand to make it as easy to drive an electric vehicle that produces zero carbon emissions as it is to drive a fossil-fuel based vehicle,” said Mr Dunne.

“This policy directly targets the issues that currently impede electric vehicle ownership.

Initiatives like the Staglands charging station and the UnitedFuture policy build into wider initiatives and targets set by local and central Government.

The Government has set targets of having 64,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand by 2021.