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Friday 17 June 2016 9:20am

The government's package of benefits for electric vehicles has been welcomed by Centre for Sustainability Director, Dr Janet Stephenson, but she warns the upfront price is still a large hurdle for Kiwi drivers.

On May 6, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced the government wants 64,000 EVs on New Zealand roads by 2021. There are just over 1000 registered EVs in New Zealand, according to lobby group Drive Electric.

The package hopes to stimulate EV uptake by introducing more exemptions of road user charges for EVs, bulk purchasing of EVs by the government and the private sector, public awareness campaigns and allowing EVs to use bus lanes.

The package does not apply to hybrids that do not have an external plug.

University of Otago Centre for Sustainability director Janet Stephenson says a number of incentives in the government's package will break down barriers to entry but she is disappointed nothing has been done to bring down the initial capital cost.

"I think the exponential target is ambitious but not unrealistic given the rate of uptake of other desirable new tech under the right conditions," she says. "My concern is that the main barrier – upfront cost – is not reduced via this package and this may deter otherwise keen purchasers."

Dr Stephenson believes a tax on petrol and diesel cars, and an exemption for environmental cars, would encourage uptake more drastically.

For full article in National Business Review

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