Our fifth 1-click survey invited your response to the following statement: “NZ will reach its target of 64,000 LEVs by 2021”.
You can download a 1-page summary of the results with a graph of EV owners’ responses here:Download 1-pager
Please add comments to deepen our discussion.
Most of the test drivers of the Flip the Fleet software think that the government will reach its target of having 64,000 Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs) registered in New Zealand by 2021. Amongst 38 respondents, 63% of respondents thought that we would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ achieve the target. The sample size is too small to estimate the size of the majority, but there is less than a 0.1% chance that this majority signal arouse by chance (sampling error). Nevertheless, 18% are still unsure whether the target is achievable, and 8% believe that the target definitely cannot be achieved without more active leadership and investment in reducing the barriers to purchasing LEVs and longer term planning.
More optimistic respondents believe 64,000 LEVs by 2021 to be a soft target, partly because flipping the fleet over to LEVs is somewhat inevitable. More sceptical respondents worry that there will be insufficient supply of inexpensive LEVs to encourage uptake, especially in the face of increasingly stiff market competition from Internal Combustion Vehicles (ICVs). Inclusion of PHEVs greatly increases chance of success, but targeted intervention to maximise the proportion of LEVs that are fully electric is needed. Increased investment in demonstrating the utility of LEVs and making them more visible would help. Roll out of public charging infrastructure is slowing because of increased safety and regulatory burdens. Encouraging fleets of new LEVs is important, but more investment in encouraging uptake of LEVs in the private sector may be needed to reach the target.
Read the one-page summary for a sample of the most common themes. Below are additional comments that we couldn’t fit in that summary.
We are snowballing: “we’re just gaining momentum” • “The year-on-year growth curve for the sales of EVs in NZ has averaged around 250% since 2012. If that continues, from a base of 2400 at the end of 2016, yearly projections would look something like this: End of 2017, 6000; 2018, 15,000; 2019, 37,500; 2020, 93,000; (end of) 2021, 234,000; 2022, 580,000; 2023, 1 million-plus! Naturally, the curve will tail off at some stage, but it could be a while given NZ has more than 3 million light passenger and commercial vehicles. Norway, sitting on 100,000+ EVs, has followed a similar curve but, as we all know, with far more incentives” • “as a commuting vehicle my Leaf is perfect – and I’m 25k from my place of work and that involved climbing a hill with an elevation of 300metres. It’s cheap to run, great to ride in, environmentally sound…. and when I do need to a greater range it’s probably cheaper for me to hire a vehicle …..which I don’t do currently because I’m fortunate enough to own a another vehicle – a Prius. That logic will eventually permeate the financial logic of many kiwi families”
Plan now for the long haul: “Targets are only useful if they offer some stretch to spur better progress. In the meantime let’s not be lulled into a false sense of security by the uptake by early adopters and instead get down to serious work and investment to keep the ball rolling in 2020 and 2021” • “until we see intervention and longer term planning beyond early adoption, I’m sceptical that we’ll make 64,000 by 2021”
Investment needed to concentrate on EVs rather than PHEVs: “The target is soft because it includes the Plug-in hybrids, which may have marginal environmental benefits over their full life cycle” • “Counting PHEVs will be a key factor to meet the target”
Internal Combustion Vehicles provide stiff and growing opposition: “Key barrier of high purchase cost unaddressed in NZ’s EV programme” • “without a govt subsidy EVs will remain unaffordable for most people” • “Fossil fuels are very competitively priced at present, and likely to remain so in the current geo-political climate – US shale oil has made America the world oil supply leader, and with Trump at the helm, likely to remain so through his term” • “As more overseas jurisdictions switch to EVs we’ll be even more inundated with cheap ICVs that can outcompete with EVs, especially when the petrol companies don’t have to pay the real cost for oil and cleaning up their damage”
Government must invest and lead more strongly: “Government is not giving any incentives to improve EV purchase” • “there should be more advertising and promotion etc. to spread the benefits of EVs to a wider public” • “There isn’t enough government support for EVs or any system that saves fuel and electricity” • “Not enough support from Transit Authority’s trial of priority for EVs on Auckland motorway on-ramps – it was the smallest move they could make”
Significant barriers to uptake remain unmanaged:
- Financial barrier: “Without incentives the extra cost of an Electric Vehicle is not warranted by some people “ • “The successful EV markets world-wide are all built on subsidised pricing, but that won’t happen here, especially if National are re-elected for a 4th term. EV development is presently focused on extending range; current pricing will hold until 400-500km batteries are the norm”
- Need greater variety of inexpensive EV models: “Current doubling mainly driven by people for whom a Nissan Leaf is an acceptable option. It may become harder as we get to people who want to switch but the Nissan Leaf is the only affordable option and either they don’t like the shape etc. (there is a strong view along those lines) or we can’t get enough imports. So reaching the target depends on whether we get other options (including second hand vehicles) in the price range $30-40k in the next 3 years or so”
- Fleets of new EVs are needed: “The 64,000 EV target may contain a significant level of new fleet purchases, but until new pricing matches mass-market purchasing power, sales will largely continue to be used vehicles from Japan, and increasingly Britain; ironically only because those vehicles were sold new with Government subsidies in the country of origin” • “Well we have to [achieve the target] … and then some. However it’s only a combination of the Japanese auto market disliking older cars and our own un-regulated approach to second hand imports that will allow this. A warning is that the Japanese EV sales are not growing … so to hit the 64K and 32K additional EVs in 2021, we will need to be buying plenty of new EVs and PHEVs as well. I feel the commitment made by a number of NZ’s largest corporates will stimulate this market just enough to get us there, but much more is needed to trigger sales into the non-commercial sectors”
- Establishing charging infrastructure is getting more difficult: “Charging Station roll-out has slowed dramatically with new WorkSafe regulations requiring annual testing and re-certification of Charging Stations. Most operators don’t know that they require this and there are very few qualified testers. The new regulations are pushing the cost of charging stations up as NZ requirements are more difficult to meet, and many companies give up as the NZ market is too small for a country-specific product”
- Demonstrate EV utility: “show people (who don’t look like they’re hippies who just stepped off the commune) driving them successfully on a day to day basis” • “active investment way beyond the current LEVCF levels is needed to make LEVs more visible and introduction of some smart, well-targeted financial incentives i.e. more leadership than the current government can muster it seems” • “I think EV drivers are aware of the conversations around them, but others are mostly not” • “I get a lot of interest in my i3 from strangers because it looks very different to other cars, but many of the others are not easily identifiable as EV’s, and I honestly think that that is how most of the public become aware that EV’s option in New Zealand”
- Attitude change needed: “Kiwi attitudes are finally changing, thanks to a very supportive media” • “EVs appeal more to city dwellers who may be more concerned about environmental issues too. Many of our friends are fundamentally suspicious of EVs and ready to dismiss them” • “Any population has early enthusiastic adopters of a new idea which is a small proportion, a larger slow adopter group, but then a similar mild to moderately opposed group and a set of die-hards who will not change”
Thanks Mum! “I think Flip The Fleet is doing an awesome job”
Henrik & Dima
25 March 2017
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