Increase in electric vehicle numbers, fleet still tiny

The Government has significantly increased the number of electric vehicles in it’s fleet.

NZ Herald:  Just how green is the ministerial car fleet?

The Government has confirmed it intends to transition its full fleet, including the 32 BMW 7-series vehicles, to emissions-free vehicles by 2026.

In total, 29 per cent of all ministerial vehicles – including Crown and self-drive cars are electric vehicles (EVs). That’s up from 2 per cent this time last year.

A major increase, with plans to continue converting the fleet to EVs.

The complete Crown fleet is made up of 72 vehicles, both owned and leased.

But a tiny fleet.

EVs aren’t viable for everyone yet. The up front cost will put many people off, with few fully battery powered vehicles and chargeable hybrids costing from about $50 thousand. With reduced energy costs the life time cost may be lower, and the Government can ‘afford’ to invest up front, but many people will be reluctant to do this.

This comes not long after the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on New Zealand’s roads passed 10,000 – that’s up from just 210 five years ago.

Although that’s a dramatic increase, it makes up just 0.25 per cent of New Zealand’s total vehicle fleet.

A tiny fraction of cars on the road.

Apart from around town driving there are other drawbacks. One major one is the limited range of EVs – it is improving, but still well behind the range of a car on a tank of petrol.

There is also only a small number of charging stations around the country.

And even if you can find a charging station on a trip you have to wait until the car is recharged. This takes much longer than pumping petrol.

One option without the limitations are hybrid EVs that use a petrol engine supplemented by battery power. These are much more competitively priced – new Toyota Corolla hybrids cost much the same as conventional Corollas. But they only reduce fuel use by up to a third, a significant saving making these economically attractive, but only a partial solution in reducing fossil fuel use.

Another issue I haven’t seen addressed – if there was a major shift to EVs, where would the power come from to charge them? Most of our current power supply is renewable, mainly hydro, with some wind.  A big increase in wind generation would create continuity of supply problems because of weather variability. Wind power can only supplement on demand power sources.

The Government is setting a good example switching to EVs, but they would do much better if they came up with a plan for how to fuel the inevitable increase in EV use.

Leave a comment


  1. Griff.

     /  7th January 2019

    New Zealand is well suited to electric vehicles
    .New Zealand is well placed to benefit from electric vehicles. More than 80 percent of electricity is generated from renewable sources and there is enough supply for widespread adoption of EVs. Even if every light vehicle was electric, there is sufficient generation capacity to charge these provided the majority are charged at off-peak times.

    The number of electric cars on our roads is doubling every year.
    With that sort of growth it is not going to be long before they make up the majority of cars .

    NZ buys second hand cars.
    That means our market benefits from the subsides that others pay for.
    Nissan leafs are extremely popular here. Nissan is releasing a longer range (320km) version of the leaf this year.
    As longer range electric cars such as jaguars audis merc bmw and telsa cars become commonly available in off shore right hand drive markets we will get more choice.

  2. Gerrit

     /  7th January 2019

    The biggest bottleneck for EV vehicles is going to be public fast charging stations.

    it takes 35 minutes to charge a BMW i3 on a public fast charge station.

    Meaning someone has to construct a fairly large car parking space with many multiples of charging stations to accommodate the growing EV fleet.

    If for example we look at the busiest petrol refueling stop in Auckland (BP on the Southern Motorway southbound at Papakura) there are 16 double sided dispensing stations and if we take a generous 10 mites per verhicle to refuel, the station has a theoretical capacity to refuel (32 refuel stations x10 minutes x 6 to get hourly turnover) 1920 cars per hour.

    To recharge that volume of EV cars (at the fast charge rate of 30 minutes) requires space to park 810 cars. That is an enormous space requirement.

    Be a monty for a shopping mall as they have the people captive for at least 30 minutes.

    Question will be who will fund the construction of such a recharge station and how much will they charge you (to recoup costs and eventually make a profit) to recharge an EV?

    Now you can do a full charge at home at the cost of about 66 to 50% for a commercial charge.

    There are pitfalls with home charging. Mainly in how good the wiring is in your home. If rated to 16 amps all good for slow charging. Fast charging requires three phase (if I read the meridian info correctly) that would cost a bit to install from the road.

    • “it takes 35 minutes to charge a BMW i3 on a public fast charge station.”

      Even that is a long time to wait to get on the road again. Sometimes it can be worked in with a meal break or similar, but it will also be an inconvenience to some, or at least a perceived inconvenience.

      And what happens when you run out of power? A mobile charger? You can’t walk to the nearest power station and pick up a can of electrons.

    • Griff.

       /  7th January 2019

      How many days do you drive more than 170km in a day Pete?
      The average car in NZ does 36km a day.
      The present Nissan leaf does 170km.
      So the average person would need to charge the car twice a week if that .
      Charging an electric car is not the same as fueling a gas car. Plug it in when you get home your car is full in the morning no need to go somewhere out of your way just to fuel up every few days .

      Getting the sparky to wire in a 32 amp plug in your garage from the power board should not cost more than a few hundred.
      32 amps *240 volt* 12 hours = 92kw
      Plenty to change any car over night .

      • As I said it isn’t usually a problem around town. But on trips it is.

      • Gerrit

         /  7th January 2019

        All good for commuters in city’s. I drive 120k every day and if needing to do raw material pick ups or customer drop off’s, that can easily run up to 200k’s.

        Now I choose to live 60km from where my business is set up but I budget for 700km worth of petrol a week (about $130).

        Not everyone is a point to point commuter. I question your 36k daily average. That seems way to short. Where is that figure from? Just mum running one kid to school means the school needs to be less than 6 km away. Doubt if that is true in many circumstances, especially high schools. Running multiple kids to school and after school activities, I suggest will take much more than 36K per day.

        Plus a lot of us tow boats, caravans, trailers. A lot of us do long trips.

        There is no point in me paying $39K new or $15K second hand for a Nissan Leaf when my Camry wagon (value $3000) with 300K on the clock only cost me to do ALL my business $130 per week and roughly $80 every 2 months for oil and filter.

        I think many (at least here in South Auckland and no doubt up North) the economics of running an EV are simply not there…yet.

        Capital cost is too high. Running costs are a business expense.

        Be interesting if someone was to do a volume count of cars crossing the Desert Road to see how many long trips are done daily and the infrastructure required to recharge those cars at say Waiouru.

        Currently there is one recharge point in Waiouru (at the Army Museum). If three cars are lined up for a charge in front of you, may as well visit the museum as you wait 2 or more hours for a charge. That is the problem Peter was alluding to and one that has to be overcome with a load of infrastructure. Chicken and egg situation I guess.

        • Gezza

           /  7th January 2019

          How fast do electric vehicles lose their charge when not used daily?
          How much does charging them overnight add to one’s energy bill on average?

          And how much of a load does it put on a house during Winter when energy use is so high & costly the government even had to give a Winter Energy Payment subsidy to millionaires aged 65 and over, and will be doing so again, presumably, this Winter?

          Anybody know?

          • Duker

             /  7th January 2019

            Cars charged overnight will be during offpeak hours , so no ‘load’ to worry about

            Just as hotwater can be switched on and off remotely to reduce load during peak times, so would car charging be the same. Its called ripple control which sends coded messages along electric wires to a receiving device connected to your hotwater circuit. Check your meter box , you will have one. the tech has been around in NZ since 1950s – when there was a peak time electricity shortage

            • Pink David

               /  7th January 2019

              How many people will be tolerant of the power companies deciding when you can have hot water in 2020?

    • Duker

       /  7th January 2019

      Thats because many people leave home , then fuel up on the way. ( Why they would pay BPs high fuel prices at the place mentioned when I can get much cheaper from local garages before getting on motorway, or wait till out of Auckland to avoid the extra fuel tax, say Mercer)

      EVs will require – and I assume you get used to it- of recharging over night before you go anywhere.
      Plus they will have navigation systems to tell you where other chargers are located , ie next location if you dont want BP Papakura MW is Mercer

      • Gerrit

         /  7th January 2019

        Technology would be better that not only tells you were the next recharge station is but also the numbers of cars in the queue ahead of you.

        EV owners enloy a respite from road users charges. Budget an extra $600 per year to buy those when the EV fleet size hits a predetermined % of the total vehicle numbers.

        Imagine the power companies rationing overnight electricity (no wind or solar power) with their ripple control system. A hot water system turned off at least retains the hot water even when not insulated.

        The poor old EV wont get fully charged and the need to call an uber will add extra transport costs.

        Better hope the charge you did get or had left from the previous day is enough to get to a public charging station. You will be fighting with your neighbour to get a recharge spot and be at least 30 minutes late for whatever was planned for the day.

      • Gerrit

         /  7th January 2019

        I never fill up there but by hokey, they are always busy pumping gas. Guess it is the convenience. Their price per litre sign is just after the offramp so that you are committed to turn off before you can compare prices.

        Nice breakfast to be had at the Autobahn cafe.

      • Pink David

         /  7th January 2019

        What makes you think people will get used to it? They have something now that can be used on demand, and you think it will be accepted replacing it with something with a high possibility of frequent disruption?

  3. Treuddyn Ted

     /  7th January 2019

    Not only are EVs not viable for everyone, they’re far from being ‘green’.

    Production of an average petrol car will involve emissions amounting to the equivalent of 5.6 tonnes of CO2, while for an average electric car, the figure is 8.8 tonnes. Of that, nearly half is incurred in producing the battery.
    Despite this, over its whole lifecycle, the electric car would still be responsible for 80% of the emissions of the petrol car.

  4. Treuddyn Ted

     /  7th January 2019

    Duker, Remember that the Internet is filled with people who are completely sure about stuff that just isn’t true.
    The source is from

    What gets my goat more than anything else is that the media will always confuse pollution with CO2 as it suits their agenda to program and control the masses by pushing emotive claptrap.
    One aspect which is always left out is the inconvenient factoid that one big volcano can put more CO2 into the atmosphere in a few days that all humans combined, past and present.
    Add to that Carbon and Oxygen ions give us many compounds and as is mentioned previously, they are necessary for life on this earth.

    • Griff.

       /  7th January 2019

      NZ has 90 percent renewable electricity generation
      Your numbers for electric cars is based on a electrical grid that is 100%coal and does not come close to reality here.

      Are Volcanoes or Humans Harder on the Atmosphere? – Scientific …

      According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s volcanoes, both on land and undersea, generate about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, while our automotive and industrial activities cause some 24 billion tons of CO2 emissions every year worldwide.

      So again you are talking shite
      The fact that idiots uptick such nonsense shows how dumb some are.

      • Gerrit

         /  7th January 2019

        Griff at his rambunctious best. That link you provide was the first that came up on my google search as well. Does that make it correct?

        Not according to this research;

        “In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.”

        Two things to worry your petal about. The 6 fold increase over 20 years to 600 million tons and the unmeasured “seeping” CO2.

        “We now know that the CO2 released during volcanic eruptions is almost insignificant compared with what happens after the camera crews get bored. The emissions that really matter are concealed. The silent, silvery plumes which are currently winding their way skyward above the 150 or so active volcanoes on our planet also carry with them the bulk of its carbon dioxide. Their coughing fits might catch the eye — but in between tantrums, the steady breathing of volcanoes quietly sheds upwards of a quarter of a billion tons of CO2 every year. ”

        So maybe it is not shite in regards natural venting of CO2.

        Your high horse needs to be re shod me thinks.

        “The new poster-child of planetary degassing is diffuse CO2 — invisible emanations which can occur across vast areas surrounding the main vents of a volcano, rising through the bulk of the mountains. This transparent haze is only just beginning to receive proper attention, and as such we have very little idea of how much it might contribute to the global output.

        Even more incredibly, it even seems that some volcanoes which are considered inactive, in terms of their potential to ooze new land, can still make some serious additions to the atmosphere through diffuse CO2 release. Residual magma beneath dormant craters, though it might never reach the surface, can still ‘erupt’ gases from a distance. Amazingly, from what little scientists have measured, it looks like this process might give off as much as half the CO2 put out by fully active volcanoes.”

        • Griff.

           /  7th January 2019

          Maths not you thing mate?

          600million = 600,000,000.
          24billion= 24,000,000,000.
          Here is a hint
          One of these numbers is a lot larger than the other .

          That’s before we point out that there is no increase in volcanic activity that would account for the increase of CO2 in earths atmosphere .

          And you wonder why i give you shite when you post such kindy dumb stuff..

      • alloytoo

         /  7th January 2019


        if your electricity supply of “renew-ables” is less than 100%, then additional demand is met by burning coal or gas.

        It is deliberately misleading to suggest otherwise. it doesn’t matter if renew-ables constitute 40% or 99%.

        Furthermore if we replaced our entire fleet with electric vehicles, we would need to double not only our generation, but also our delivery grid, to suggest that such an increase would comprise renewable generation and continue to be so cheap (for electricity) is to dwell in La La land.

        Nevermind the cost of battery replacement after 10 years, and disposal.

        • Griff.

           /  8th January 2019

          The grid copes with peaks now .
          Few will be charging cars at the present peak times.
          Yip we will need to build some capacity as the fleet changes.
          There is no reason why it has to be coal and gas based
          We already have enough hydro capacity to more than supply peaks demand.
          Hydro is of course storage.
          Build out wind and solar.
          Solar and wind are negatively correlated in NZ.
          More wind less sunshine more sunshine when it is less windy.
          Solar and wind are cheaper than coal and gas based generation.

          Batteries last more than 10 years and can be repurposed as stationery storage when no longer good enough for cars .
          They can also be recycled at 98% efficiency .
          ICE cars have far more wearing parts and often end up scraped because the gearbox fuel sytem cooling etc craps out . Electric cars have far fewer wear parts that can fail .

          • Gerrit

             /  8th January 2019

            MTA disagrees with your battery life span.

            “The life expectancy for your car battery is typically between four to six years. Several factors determine how long your battery will last, for example weather conditions, vehicle type and driving habits.

            There are, however, several key pointers you can utilise to help increase the life expectancy of your car battery.”



            “Car enthusiasts and experts have greatly varying opinions as to the actual lifespan of an average car battery. Some would say it should last a good 5 years while others would claim you could very well extend it up to 6 or even 7 years. It’s worth noting that all of these figures are taken under ‘normal’ conditions. When we say ‘normal’ we actually mean the right temperature and humidity, the right full charge cycles, and right power loading. Sadly, our idea of ‘normal’ is having all the electronic gadgetry inside our car in full operation, driving in the worst possible road conditions, and a whole lot more.

            Given the poorest driving habits under the worst operating conditions imaginable, you’d be lucky to have your battery running for a minimum of two years, 3 years max.”


            Basically life span is governed by how you utilise and charge the battery.

            Fast charging certainly reduces battery life. Another issue regarding range is how many gadget you utilise in your car. Makes sense as those gadgets draw from the battery and shortens it life span.

            “Let us try to simplify the effects of depth of discharge. Every time you use an electronic device on your car – the AC, stereo, DVD, GPS system, windshield wipers, and many others – you are actually consuming a lot of your battery’s power. The accessories can deplete it of its power reserves a lot faster than when you’re using as few electronic gadgets as possible at any given time. The point is that the more power that is drawn from your battery, the greater is the reduction in its life cycle”.

            • Griff.

               /  8th January 2019

            • Griff.

               /  8th January 2019

              Gerrit both your links are to the lead acid starting battery found in every car.
              Not even mate… a motive battery is a very different beast.
              My deep cycle lead acid house battery’s are guaranteed for ten years
              Some have a twenty year guarantee.

            • Gerrit

               /  8th January 2019

              Correct, my bad.

              Worth a read;


              So many variables that need to be considered in regards battery life (or rather the the number of cycles or instances it can be recharged.

              Temperature, voltage, discharge level before recharge, etc.,etc.

              Critically it is the level of discharge that is the biggest killer of batteries. As is charging speed.

              “Obviously, nobody knows exactly how long Tesla packs will last. The math is somewhat simple, though. The full capacity of a lithium-ion battery cell should be good for 300 to 500 cycles. So if you drive a Roadster through 300 194-mile standard-mode cycles, it translates to 58,200 miles. If it’s 500 cycles, how does 97,000 miles on one set of batteries sound?

              “Of course, as Battery University explains, it’s not as simple as that. After 300 to 500 cycles at 100 percent depth of discharge, a lithium-ion cell’s capacity will drop to 70 percent. But partial discharge “reduces stress and prolongs battery life.” Drain the batteries consistently to only 50 percent, as is often the case with electric cars that get plugged in frequently, and life expectancy of a healthy battery zooms up to 1,200 to 1,500 cycles. That, of course, translates to 366,000 miles, but don’t expect numbers like that on your odometer. Other wild cards such as frequency of fast recharge can also affect battery life.”

          • alloytoo

             /  8th January 2019

            @griff “The grid copes with peaks now .”

            Mostly by burning something.

            “Few will be charging cars at the present peak times.”

            I beg to differ, most people will get home and automatically plug their vehicles in, BAM straight into evening peak.

            “Yip we will need to build some capacity as the fleet changes.
            There is no reason why it has to be coal and gas based”

            There’s every reason to believe that it will be coal or gas based (unless we go nuclear), The Greens won’t allow hydro development and both solar and wind are a) notoriously unreliable b) uneconomical (without subsidies) and require cover by conventional means (IE coal or Gas or Nuclear)

            “We already have enough hydro capacity to more than supply peaks demand.”

            This seem irrelevant to your argument you said: “Few will be charging cars at the present peak times.”

            “Hydro is of course storage.”

            Indeed, and after peak times is temporarily depleted, but that’s when you want to charge the fleet.

            “Solar and wind are cheaper than coal and gas based generation.”

            Bullshit, factor in the coverage cost by conventional generation, remove the subsidies and they cannot ever, ever be cheaper, ignoring the cost of the engineering gymnastics required to incorporate them in the grid.

            “Batteries last more than 10 years”

            Even over engineering Germans don’t expect this, in reality they expect from an engineering perspective to replace the battery at 10 years on a vehicle with a value of less than half of the replacement batteries.

            ” and can be repurposed as stationery storage when no longer good enough for cars .”

            An interesting pipe dream, only a limited number of manufacturer trained technicians are even allowed to touch the batteries on these vehicles, they will never be allowed to assist in this sort of health and safety nightmare and that’s before the insurance companies start repudiating fire claims where these “Repurposed” banks are installed

            “ICE cars have far more wearing parts and often end up scraped because the gearbox fuel sytem cooling etc craps out . Electric cars have far fewer wear parts that can fail .”

            The average electric car is likely to be scrapped when the battery fails, shortly after 10 years (depending on use and charge cycle)

            Average light vehicle fleet is 14.3 years and buses and trucks are even older.

            Projections indicate that given the higher starting price electric cars cost more for the first five years of operation, thereafter they are cheaper until the battery is replaced,,,,,,

            This isn’t really a great business model when businesses are replacing their fleets about every four 4 years.

            • Griff.

               /  8th January 2019

              You can pre set the timer on the car even on the Nissan leaf to charge at a specified time . As off peak power is cheaper most will take the opportunity to save money .

              Nuclear ….ROFL
              As to the rest of your rant
              About what I expect from someone who thinks nuclear power is going to happen in NZ .
              You really dont have a clue about batteries do you.

              There is already considerable demand for ev battery’s to repurpose.
              They are not magic mate. You dont even need a license to legally fuck around with DC power here in NZ. I diy’ed all the 28 kw DC side of my own home storage system. It is 100% legal, certified and insured.

              Once they are out of warranty there is no reason why any competent technician can not service , replace, refresh or repurpose car batteries as they do now in NZ with Toyota hybrids.

              Wind and solar power is already cheaper .
              Both are also still dropping in price .

            • Pink David

               /  8th January 2019

              Griff, if everyone is charging their cars ‘off peak’, there will not be any off peak.

            • alloytoo

               /  13th January 2019

              @G”You can pre set the timer on the car even on the Nissan leaf to charge at a specified time . As off peak power is cheaper most will take the opportunity to save money .”

              Ah the magic off peak, that’s when hydro dams are filling up, and coal or gas is charging your EV,

              You really dont have a clue about batteries do you.

              @G”Nuclear ….ROFL
              As to the rest of your rant
              About what I expect from someone who thinks nuclear power is going to happen in NZ .
              You really dont have a clue about batteries do you.”

              Nuclear power plants aren’t batteries, they do however provide reliable scaleable power especially suitable for charging batteries (should you wish too)

              You really dont have a clue about batteries do you.

              @G”There is already considerable demand for ev battery’s to repurpose.”

              I’m sure there are, I’m also sure someone’s going to kill themselves trying to repurpose a Tesla or e-Golf battery.

              @G”Wind and solar power is already cheaper
              Both are also still dropping in price .”

              Not if you cost them correctly,

              Not if you remove the subsidies.

              Not if you add the additional conventional generation required to cover for the unreliability of wind/solar.

              Not if you add the additional infrastructure required to cater for the unreliability.

              Before you you consider the recently reduced estimated lifespans of wind turbines and fact that you cannot build enough wind/solar to cover increase in demand, never mind existing generation.

    • Duker

       /  7th January 2019

      You may be right on the CO2 TT. I have heard but cant confirm that for the whole Carbon Cycle the human contribution is in the margin of error for the estimates of the complete carbon cycle quantities.
      However the CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to rise, and there is a minority view that the rising CO2 quantity in the air – a few parts per million- follows the warming rather than precedes it.

  5. Treuddyn Ted

     /  7th January 2019

    One thing we sure need with roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, is as much co2 as we can get a hold of.

  6. Treuddyn Ted

     /  7th January 2019

    Duker, It could be said then, the rising CO2 quantity in the air is Nature auto-supplying more as the population increases.

  1. Huge investment in electric vehicles and batteries | Your NZ

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