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I’m jolly following the festive period and electrified having watched the Evans boys do the business in the first Formula E event of their season. It’s a great competition and I hope the group working on a New Zealand round gets the support needed to make this happen on Auckland’s waterfront. It would be spectacular.

I’m excited further by what appears to be a strong movement towards the “tipping point” many talk about in regards to electric vehicles (EVs). With most of the main automotive players in the world announcing new electric car models with improved ranges, we should also anticipate more competitive pricing with Nissan, Mitsubishi and the Renault Alliance already stating this. In New Zealand, Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Hyundai’s Kona are great vehicles. They sit in the volume SUV market and are well-priced. And there are some exciting new models due for launch this year, which will be competitively priced to grow the EV market share, such as Volkswagen’s e-Golf, Nissan’s Leaf and the Tesla 3.

The VW Group has been particularly bullish with plans for electric cars. Add this to messages coming from Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, and the segment is about to light up. Nissan NZ is evaluating the latest Leaf model, which is quite a large car. Autolink Cars’ owner, Henry Schmidt, reliably informs me he can get a set of golf clubs in the trunk without having to fold the rear seats down. This fact was a consideration for larger passenger cars, so a useful added benefit. The Tesla 3 plan is harder to predict. When the car was announced, Tesla took deposits from interested buyers. How many orders came from New Zealand isn’t widely known, but if righthand-drive (RHD) deliveries start in 2019 and there’s evidence they will, its numbers will likely soar.

What would make me even more jolly and electrified is for our coalition government to clearly state what it’s planning to do to support the uptake of EVs. Drive Electric recently supported Norwegian EV supremo Christina Bu’s visit to New Zealand. Her parting shot was to call for political will – EVs can help fast-track actions to address climate change and lower CO2 emissions. But there isn’t anything coming out of Wellington except soundbites through phrases such as “vision carbon zero by 2050”, “feebate scheme” and “emission testing”. The Productivity Commission’s report is well-worth the read, but would be even better if actioned. With numerous countries – including the world’s biggest RHD market, the UK – signalling the end of fossil-fuel vehicles by 2035, what’s New Zealand planning?

Source: Autofile Magazine February issue