As fuel prices soar, so does popularity of electric vehicles

Source: 1News

An expert in the electric vehicle (EV) market says demand has increased by 55% in the past year as petrol prices soar.

Electric car charging socket and lead

Mark Gilbert, chair of Drive Electric, says consumers can clearly see the benefits of owning an EV over a fossil fuel car.

Drive Electric is a not-for-profit with the mission to accelerate the uptake of e-mobility in New Zealand.

"EV technology has matured and consumers see the benefits of ownership over a fossil fuel car, such as zero emissions and often a lower cost of ownership.

"We are hearing anecdotally from both new and used dealers that for some people the increase in fuel prices is what’s tipped them over the edge to shift to EV. The fact is you can charge an EV for the equivalent of around 30-40c a litre," Gilbert told 1News.

He says the Government’s clean car discount, which has been in place since July 1 last year has also provided incentives to those EV buyers.

With demand surging globally, Gilbert says there can be wait times for certain EVs “depending on the make and model”.

"There are more than 50 new pure EV models available in New Zealand, and we expect around 20 more in the coming year.

"Frankly, we are seeing demand across all models. Typically popular models of new pure EVs are the Tesla Model 3, the MG ZS, Polestar and the Hyundai Kona and Ioniq.

"The full Clean Car Programme starts on 1 April, which continues the incentives on EVs and hybrids and introduces a penalty on those vehicles that are emitting high emissions. So we only anticipate EV demand to continue to grow," Gilbert says.

The Clean Car Bill passed its final reading on February 17.

Discount expanded

“This legislation takes us further by expanding the discount to include new and used imported hybrids and other low emission vehicles from 1 April 2022, expected to prevent a further five million tonnes of emissions,” Transport Minister, Michael Wood said.

“The passing of the Clean Vehicles legislation delivers on our 2020 election commitment to introduce a Clean Car Import Standard, which offers Kiwis greater access to low and zero emissions vehicles. These cars are not only cleaner but are much cheaper to run over their lifetimes, with a full charge costing the equivalent of buying petrol at around 40 cents per litre.

“Public EV charging has also become much more accessible, with charging stations available, on average, every 75 kilometres across over 97 per cent of our state highway network, and hundreds more chargers in the process of being installed," Wood said.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the huge uptake of electric vehicles since the introduction of the Clean Car Discount demonstrated New Zealanders’ desire to be part of the solution to the climate crisis.

“The passing of the Clean Vehicles legislation means it will be easier and more affordable for families to access clean, green ways of getting around – adding to the measures we’ve already taken and the uptake we’ve already seen."

David Boot, owner of Christchurch’s EV City said over the weekend they did about two months’ worth of business in two days.

"A typical month for a dealership like us would be about 60 cars sold, we did 115 since last Tuesday," he said.

He said "there's not enough superlatives to describe" the impact of skyrocketing petrol prices, which was seeing people even ignoring hybrid vehicles for fully electric ones.

He said they had new vehicles coming from Japan, but was expecting prices to rise slightly as the popularity of EVs continued to grow.