Myth or reality ? What Kiwi motorists think of electric vehicles. Photo / 123RF
Attitudes towards greener transport are changing, but New Zealand motorists are still hesitant to go electric, according to a new study.
The Future of Automotive Consumer Survey, released by Driven this week, highlighted the
trends and revealed motorists’ concerns about electric vehicles (EVs).
The national survey of 2,500 Kiwis found that 60% would consider buying an electric vehicle as their next car.
But conventional ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles still make up the vast majority of cars sold and owned, with 79% of respondents saying they own a petrol or diesel car, van or bicycle, while 10% said they own a electric vehicle. and 8 percent a hybrid.
In addition, consumers appear to be highly dependent on their own personal transportation, with 74% saying they consider their current vehicle to be their primary mode of transportation over the next five years.
Imports of electric vehicles into New Zealand doubled in the year to March, according to figures from Stats NZ.
Imports of electric vehicles increased 309% to $543 million in the 12 months to March 31, while hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) increased 63% ( $24 million) and 141% ($46 million). ) respectively.
By comparison, the combination of all ICE vehicles increased by 42% to $5.5 billion.
Richard Briggs, transport group manager at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, said they were seeing similar patterns in New Zealand compared to overseas, where sales of electric vehicles are increasing.
“Internationally, the EECA has seen a huge increase in the adoption of electric vehicles over the past year – around 10% of global car sales were electric in 2021, and the number of electric vehicles sold in 2021 doubled compared to the previous year,” he said.
“We are seeing a similar trend in New Zealand: we are approaching 50,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, around 1% of the fleet, but 40% of them were registered last year.”
For 75% of survey respondents, the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle is the main obstacle to going electric.
Concerns about range (59%) and accessibility to charging stations (54%) were other common deterrents among respondents.
Editor Dean Evans said while it was encouraging to see consumer attitudes towards sustainable transport changing, more education was needed on the “myths” surrounding electric vehicles.
“Our latest research shows that continued education about cleaner transportation options is needed to help challenge current consumer deterrents,” Evans said.
“There are many opportunities for the automotive and electrification sectors to educate consumers about recent innovations in this space and help debunk some of the most common myths, like the affordability issue. at charging stations.
“Currently, it is clear that consumers only become aware of the extensive charging infrastructure already available in New Zealand when they actually go electric.”
EECA’s Briggs added that battery life and replacement were also common myths.
“There are persistent myths that EV batteries don’t last, but an EV battery should last 10 to 20 years before degrading to the point of no longer providing useful range,” he said.
“At this point it can be refurbished or replaced. Sometimes it is possible to simply replace the dead cells of a battery, and the used battery is still valuable. It can be refurbished, reused or recycled – for example, to store electricity from solar photovoltaic panels.”
According to the survey, the government’s clean car programme, or “bonus” programme, was the main motivation for buying an electric vehicle (68%), while the environmental impact (65%) and the costs of operation/maintenance and driving performance (61 percent) found favorable.
Evans said the tax-rebate scheme was just a start, but had awakened consumers to the direct financial benefits of cleaner cars.
The scheme, announced last year and already in use, will see charges imposed on high-emission vehicles and rebates given to low-emission vehicles.
Motorists can receive subsidized rebates of up to $8,625 for the purchase of an electric, hybrid or other low-emission car.
Figures revealed by Newstalk ZB in August show almost 20,000 refund requests have been granted since the scheme was extended in April.
These are disputed by National, however, with transportation spokesman Simeon Brown saying that around 2,000, or 10%, of approved applications are for full battery electric vehicles.
Forty-two percent of respondents to the Future of the Car survey said the tax rebate program was likely or very likely to influence the purchase of their next vehicle, while 27% remained opposites.
Respondents said additional government support that would influence the purchase of an electric vehicle was better charging infrastructure (37%) and home charging subsidies (21%).
“Given the increase in sales of electric vehicles, it certainly seems that the clean car rebate is having a positive effect. But our research shows that there are other motivations as well, including the fact that they are less polluting, can be charged at home, and are cheaper to run, especially with recent high fuel prices,” Briggs said.
Rough estimates on the Meridian Energy website put the cost of charging an electric vehicle (if you drive an average of 25-30 km per day) at home at $3 per 100 km – the equivalent of paying 0 $.30 for a liter of gas.
Government agency Gen Less compared the cost of electric vehicles versus gas-powered cars earlier this year, saying the average cost of electricity per 100 km for electric vehicles was $2.43 (or 2. $79 including GST) while the average fuel cost per 100 km was $18.02 (or $20.72 including GST) for petrol vehicles, based on Unleaded 91.
However, factors such as distance traveled and the type of driving you do can cause the cost to vary.
The Department for the Environment said in May that transport is one of New Zealand’s biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for 17% of gross emissions.
“Reducing our use of fossil-fuel cars will be key to meeting our emissions reduction commitments,” Briggs said.
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