The Government's plan to electrify public buses and its $50 million national hand-out would only cover a ''small fraction'' of the money needed, a Bay council warns.
It's unknown at this stage what impact that would have on ratepayers but a single battery-electric bus is about $750,000 - compared with the diesel equivalent of $420,000.
But Transport Minister Michael Wood said it recognises it will take time and effort from central and local government to decarbonise the approximately 2600 public transport buses nationwide.
''Decarbonising the public transport bus fleet will not just help make our inner cities more liveable, but as the Prime Minister has said, it will make a significant contribution to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. We're planning to work with local government to find the best way to invest the $50 million to get the most bang for our buck and help break down the barriers for councils.
''We will have more announcements on this throughout the year.''
Bay of Plenty Regional Council transport & urban planning manager James Llewellyn said given the size of the local bus fleet across the whole of New Zealand, this sum of money ''is only a small fraction of what will be required to deliver complete decarbonisation''.
At the moment the council had 166 buses across the Bay of Plenty and five Tauranga buses were electric.
Over the next year, regional councils would be undertaking feasibility work to assess the scale of the decarbonisation challenge and potential costs of buses, he said.
This would include additional power infrastructure and depots required to house and maintain an all-electric fleet.
''At this early stage, it is therefore not possible to estimate the potential impact on local ratepayers, which is ultimately dependent on the level of investment required and additional financial support available from the Government.''
But he said electric buses were significantly cheaper to operate than the diesel equivalents and were typically generally less than 50 per cent over the asset life cycle - and their local environmental impacts are zero.
The council also plans to transition its light passenger vehicles to EV and continue to wait for an electric utility option.
To date 10 of its fleet of 130 vehicles were electric and they had a pool of e-bikes at each office for staff to use.
Tauranga City Council strategy and growth general manager Christine Jones said the council has not yet had the opportunity to fully consider the Government's proposal but intends to make a submission.
The recently adopted Transport System Plan estimates there would be more than one million extra transport movements every day by 2050.
The plan looks at transport including roads, rail, public transport, freight, walking and cycling and considers other factors like parking and public transport fees and a commitment to carbon emission reduction.
The community would have the opportunity to have a say on specific projects in the plan through the Long Term Plan and Regional Land Transport Plan consultation process, she said.
Figures reveal the Tauranga Council has two electric vehicles in a fleet of 115 vehicles, plus two pool e-bikes.
''As council currently lease our vehicles, at the end of each three-year lease, we will actively investigate any EV or Hybrid vehicle,'' said corporate services general manager Paul Davidson.
''As the more options come to market, we expect more EV/hybrid options will become available to us.''
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the council had approved the Rotorua Climate Action Plan for adoption and transportation and modal shift were an important component.
''We are very aware of what we need to do as a community. There is also a lot that needs to be led regionally or by central government and I think some form of incentives are needed to support and encourage the switch to electric cars.''
Strategy group manager Jean-Paul Gaston said transportation currently accounts for about 21 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the Rotorua district.
''Council has replaced several fleet vehicles with an electric vehicle, four electric bikes and an electric scooter and these options are very popular with staff.
''With cost starting to become less of a barrier, we will be looking more to electric and hybrid vehicles in future as fleet cars become due for replacement.''