Last week the government announced a package of options to try and boost the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand including the extremely idiotic move of allowing electric vehicles in bus lanes – something that even seems to have surprised our transport agencies. As part of the announcement they also set a target for how many electric vehicles they want to see in country.
A target of doubling the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand every year to reach approximately 64,000 by 2021
With this post I thought I’d look the numbers to see how we’re performing. The good news in this regard is that the Ministry has quite a bit of data publicly available to use. This is how the MoT classify an electric vehicle:
They can be powered in two ways:
- solely by electric batteries. These are commonly known as pure electric vehicles; or
- a combination of electric batteries and a petrol or diesel engine. These are commonly known as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
Hybrid vehicles that use a combination of a petrol or diesel engine, a battery or an onboard electric motor are not included in this definition of electric vehicles because their batteries cannot be charged from an external electricity source.
So where are we now. The data from the Ministry shows that as of April there were just over 1,220 electric vehicles registered in the country and growth has been fairly strong on an annual basis there has often been over 100% growth compared to the same time the previous year. This has been coming off a low base though. The 1,220 electric vehicles are made up of 659 full electric vehicles and 561 Plug-in Hybrids.
If we are to meet the government’s target, growth levels will need to remain at an exponential level for five years. This is shown below with us meeting the 64k target by the end of 2021.
To put things in a little perspective, as of the March quarter there are over 3.5 million light vehicles in the country so electric’s only make up a tiny 0.03%. Even if the total fleet size didn’t growth for the five years of the 64k government target, electrics would still account for fewer than 2% of all light vehicles. In reality growth in the total fleet will mean that even if achieved, electrics will make up a tiny percent.
Next let’s take a look at the number of registrations that are actually occurring. The good news on this front is you can see there has definitely been growth and April was the biggest month yet with just under 100 vehicles registered with used full electric (Nissan Leaf’s I believe) the largest segment.
But again while the growth is heading in the right direction, they represent only a tiny fraction of all vehicle registrations with the data showing that over the last year an average of over 23k light vehicles are being registered each month. While still small the good news is that the share of electric vehicles being registered and in March reached a high of 0.3% and was then passed 0.4% in April. To be on track for the government’s target the numbers registered for each month to this December will need to surpass the April results.
Trying to predict forward just what percentage of vehicles will need to be electric in 2021 is a little difficult though because as the graph below shows, unsurprisingly the car market appears to be linked closely to economic cycles- although I haven’t bothered to look at that issue more closely. Should the total number of light vehicles sold in 2021 remain at the level it’s out now, the 32,000 electric vehicles that would need t be sold in 2021 to meet the target would account for about 11% of all registrations.
When it comes to where electric vehicles are located it’s no surprise they’re where our largest cities are. The MoT list the regions where the vehicles were registered and also by where they were last inspected which they say is the best guide for where they’re located. Auckland tops the list with over 630 (52%) EV’s.
Lastly a there is also information about what make and model these EV’s are. Of the over 1,200, 73% are one of two models. The Nissan Leaf is the most popular with 487 vehicles while the Mitsubishi Outland PHEV is second at 400 units registered.
Getting a greater range of EV’s and having them in a price range more people are prepared to pay (as much as we may want a Tesla), will be critical to improving the uptake of them.
Do you think we can meet the government’s targets?