Hundreds of EVs to be added to Govt's fleet, but minister admits there's still a long way to go

Source: 1News

Hundreds of new electric vehicles are on the way for the Government's fleet, with a large portion going to the Department of Conservation. 

However, EVs still only make up a small part of the Government's car fleet, despite the Government's promise to have a zero-emissions fleet in the next five years. 

The Government is putting up $13.1 million for 422 EVs and charging infrastructure, with Climate Change Minister James Shaw expecting it to prevent 11,600 tonnes of greenhouse gas over the next 10 years. 

Currently, only one per cent of the Government's fleet is electric, with today's announcement pulling it up to four per cent. 

"There's only about 150 EVs at the moment. This announcement today quadruples that to 500, so that's great progress but there's a lot more to go," Shaw said. 

The Government declared a climate emergency in December last year, and with it came a promise to have the public sector reduce emissions and offset any to ensure it is carbon neutral by 2025. Agencies would have to reduce the number of cars in fleets and be required to purchase hybrids and EVs. 

That added to Labour's coalition agreement with NZ First that promised government’s vehicle fleet, where practicable, would become emissions-free by 2025/26.

"I'm reluctant to say it's off the table," Shaw said. 

"It's going to be very challenging and certainly the Covid crisis and the impact on supply chains hasn't made things any easier."

The Department of Conservation will be receiving $4 million for 118 new electric vehicles and charging stations, with the stations costing $10,000 each. 

One of DOC's current EVs is on Stewart Island/Rakiura, but it has no charging station so needs to run on petrol or charge on a diesel generator. The utes needed for the rest of the fleet would not be ready to buy for at least another year. 

Barbara Kuriger of National said her party wanted to see more electric cars, "but the delivery on this is appalling".

Greenpeace also said the Government was being too slow, with Amanda Larsson calling it a "tiny, baby step" in the context of the climate crisis. 

"The Government has both a mandate and the means to be making big leaps and bounds to clean up transport."