One in three cars in the Government fleet will be electric by 2021, Prime Minister Bill English announced today in Lower Hutt before a crowd of about 100.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said New Zealand already had an ambitious target of having 64,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand by 2021. But he wanted the public sector to lead by example with the new target of one in three electric or electric hybrid vehicles in the Government fleet by 2021.

There are approximately 15,500 vehicles in the Government fleet.

Bridges said the Government would use its buying power to achieve the target and increase the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand.

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"We already encourage the public sector to purchase electric through the competitive All of Government Procurement process and have a range of incentives in place to encourage the uptake of elective vehicles by the general public."

Bridges said New Zealand had gone from about 1300 electric vehicles a year ago to more than 4200 today.

Bridges said the Government target would flow through into the second-hand private sector market.

English said he had his first ride in an electric car last year in Australia and he was impressed at how beautifully it rode.

The announcement was made outside the Dowse Art Gallery because it has an electric charging station outside it.