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2018: The Year of the electric car for NZ

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Electric cars are becoming more popular in New Zealand and the market has grown rapidly over recent years. A record number of 465 electric cars were sold in November last year 2018 (and beyond) promises to be an exciting time for the industry. These vehicles are constantly evolving and the Energy, Efficiency & Conversation Authority (EEAC) has a goal of getting 64,000 electric cars on our roads by 2021.

Rise of electric cars

In New Zealand, more than 80 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources. From a ‘green’ point of view, our country is well suited to the widespread adoption of electric cars. We have around 43 Electric Vehicle (EV) models in the market and this continues to grow every year. Most major automakers are working on their own electric cars, so we can expect to see more rolled out over the coming years.

Since EV is not exactly a new concept, their introduction into the modern market has been a long time coming. There were electric taxis on the roads of Manhattan in the 1900s. In fact, there was a time when they outnumbered gasoline cars in NYC. But electric taxi companies fell out of business by the 1910s. One of the pioneering EV companies called The Electric Vehicle Company went bankrupt in 1907 because they were no longer able to afford maintenance and electricity bills. The company’s bankruptcy tarnished the reputation of electric cars and it spelled the end for EV taxi companies all over the world.

Despite NYC’s adoption of electric cars in the early 1900s, gasoline cars ultimately took over. The technology has existed for more than one hundred years. Engineers and inventors built some of the first practical electric cars in the 19th century. Robert Anderson, a British inventor developed the first crude electric carriage in the early 1800s. The bottom line is the price of electric cars has always held the technology back. Today, electric cars are making a resurgence. With new technologies, we can expect electric cars to have more technical and commercial success.

Electric cars now

New Zealanders can be excited with the release of the new ‘affordable’ Tesla Model 3. New Zealand has been added to the list of countries who are able to order the car. The cost of the five seated Tesla Model 3 is NZ$50,000. The car can be driven for 220 miles before it needs charging and offers a 310-mile range battery. It is the cheapest car in the Tesla range and, understandably, demand for the model is high. However, it was revealed that Tesla no longer expects to achieve its goal of producing 5,000 cars per week by the end of the year.

Rivalling the Tesla Model 3 is the 2018 Nissan Leaf. This car hits around 151 miles on a single charge. It features an automated system that can steer, brake and accelerate, and drive at speeds reaching 62mph. While EVs are quickly entering the market, there are some lifestyle issues to overcome. For example, there is a limited number of charging stations in New Zealand. There have already been reports of queues in some stations in Auckland. Another issue is the cost of the battery and having to replace it every couple of years. This is one of the biggest drawbacks, but you would still save around $3000 on petrol every year.

The main selling point of electric cars is that it does not emit any greenhouse gases. Transport takes up over 40% of national energy consumption. As they have no tailpipe emissions, electric cars are simply better for the environment. With more electric cars on the road, we can look forward to cleaner air. Today, there is much more awareness of the harm carbon emissions can cause. Over time, consumers may opt for EVs to try and reduce their carbon footprint.

The Tesla Model 3, the Nissan Leaf and the various other classes available are more than just nice cars. They are futuristic, but there’s nothing sci-fi about electric vehicles now. Both battery and plug-in EVs have been on sale in New Zealand since 2011. But 2018 is the year in which the transition to electric cars will gain real momentum and become the car of the future.

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