Barry Soper: Govt's half-measures on electric cars

A Tesla Motors Model S vehicle exits the company's Gigafactory in Nevada, US. Photo / David Paul Morris, Bloomberg
A Tesla Motors Model S vehicle exits the company's Gigafactory in Nevada, US. Photo / David Paul Morris, Bloomberg

So the Beehive's BMW boys have come up with a plan to encourage us to plug in rather than fill up.

Electric cars and trucks are the way of the future and they clearly want one - a future that is - so they've got on the bandwagon and want us to put our money where their mouth is.

But is what they're offering a great incentive? It could be seen as discouraging for us to go out and bulk buy electric by promising us that the vehicles will be exempt from road user charges until they make up two per cent of the vehicle fleet - which applies to both cars and trucks.

So that means after enough of us have bought the new wave vehicles, then we'll once again be paying the charges.

And John Key might be a lot of things, but a car salesman he ain't. He told us after the launch of the policy that his Environment Minister Nick Smith went electric a while ago and is now spitting sparks because the car be bought for more than eighty grand would today cost you less than half that for the same vehicle.

And even though the policy is the Government's tilt at showing it's sympathetic green side, it is hardly convincing to say it would allow electric powered vehicles to drive in bus lanes. Imagine the frustrated public transport users having their way impeded by the quiet cars, especially if they run out of juice at the wrong time.

The Beehive is hardly showing commitment to running any fleet of electric cars on our abundant, renewable electricity supply by saying there will be work across Government and the private sector to investigate the bulk purchase of electric vehicles.

That's putting it on the never never.

Surely a better commitment would have been to lead by example and replace their own BMW limousine fleet, as they're doing at the moment. Alright, they do get a deal on the Beemers but if you look at the cost of a ritzy electric Telsa Model S (pictured above), it's tens of thousands of bucks cheaper and has a respectable range of around four hundred clicks before having to recharge.

READ MORE: Government plan allows bus lane access for electric cars

Perhaps Key should be looking at the Canadian political pinup boy Justin Trudeau who has made a commitment for his Government's limos to go electric. And perhaps while they're at it, they could take a leaf out of the Canadian's recent budget, where they've committed more than sixty million over the next two years to build recharging stations for electric vehicles.

Our Budget's being delivered in three weeks time but don't hold your breath. We'll be inhaling carbon monoxide for some time yet.

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