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Electric Vehicles: Are they better for the environment?

16 April 2015

The work of Dr Allan Miller and Scott Lemon from the University of Canterbury’s Electric Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre), presented at The Energy Conference in 2013 gives some interesting insights into electric vehicles and the environment.

These researchers make a compelling case for electric vehicles from an environmental perspective.  They point out that many countries use tax incentives and subsidies to encourage purchase of electric vehicles, but don’t recommend this approach in New Zealand.

According to their calculations cars account for about 11% of our greenhouse gas emissions and a total switch to electric vehicles would reduce average vehicle emissions by 85%.  They describe the purchase price of electric cars as a serious barrier to Kiwis going electric, but suggest interest will grow as electric car prices come down.  

Electric vehicles aren’t right for everyone - mostly due to the limited range of the less expensive models.  They are worthwhile considering if you are a commuter or if you need a second car for local driving and want to lower your environmental footprint.  

So, what are your options if you decide to go electric?  When we searched the internet to ‘buy electric car NZ’ we found the Nissan Leaf, Holden Volt and Mitsubishi i-Mi all available.  If you’re not in the market for a brand new car, watch out for imported models, like the ones recently added to the Counties Power fleet. Remember to talk to your electricity retailer about the best rates for charging your electric vehicle before you buy.

Component Headline Are they better for the environment?

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