Govt ignored advice on allowing EVs in bus lanes

Govt ignored advice on allowing EVs in bus lanesIn May the government announced a package to try and increase the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand as a way of reducing emissions – a laudable goal but some of the government’s proposed some measures missed the mark. At or at least near the top of the list was the idea to allow for electric cars to use bus lanes and the Northern Busway. Enabling electric vehicles to access bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes Access by electric vehicles to bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes (lanes where a vehicle must have more than a certain number of occupants) will be of value to households and businesses. Access to …

Electric Vehicles by the numbers

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 …

Government Neuter Bus Lanes

The government want to increase the currently dismal uptake of electric vehicles, increasing the numbers on our roads from about 1,200 to 64,000 in just 5 years. To do that yesterday they announced a package to encourage more people to buy an electric car. Most of the initiatives, such as extending the Road User Charges exemption on light vehicles and introducing an exception for heavy vehicles, are probably fine but one of the initiatives is completely nuts – letting electric vehicles us bus lanes and busways. Enabling electric vehicles to access bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes Access by electric vehicles to bus and high occupancy vehicle lanes (lanes where a vehicle …

Will people choose to buy new vehicle technologies?

Last year we started to take a look at an emerging technology that some claim will revolutionise urban transport – driverless cars. My view is that they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be – if we wanted to, we could easily get the purported benefits by investing in existing, proven technology: While driverless cars (or hoverboards for that matter) sound exciting, we can’t afford to pin all of our hopes on them. The pragmatic, proven way forward for transport in a big city is the same as it’s always been: Give people good transport choices by investing in efficient rapid transit networks, frequent bus services, and safe walking and …

The electric car revolution….

Electric cars are often touted as the next big thing in transport, removing one of the major effects of vehicle use – emissions. This is especially the case in NZ where we have such a large amount of our electricity generated from renewable sources. But while electric cars might solve one problem, they certainly aren’t a silver bullet to all issues as so wonderfully pointed out in this image from Copehagenize.

Electric vehicles (part 4)

It’s been a while since the last post in this series on electric vehicles (here are parts one, two and three), but this post is number four. Today, I’m looking at the costs of these cars – both their running costs, and their capital costs. Again, I’ll abbreviate plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to PHEVs, and battery electric vehicles to BEVs – these are the “full” electric vehicles which don’t have an engine for backup. This post is about the cost of electric vehicles – the main reason they’ve been so slow to take off. These cars are much more expensive than conventional cars, unless there are hefty subsidies involved. Capital …

Electric Buses

Buses are often the quiet workhorse of many PT systems running all sorts of routes from high capacity busway systems down to local services that connect suburbs to shops or train stations. Yet for many, buses have anything but a quiet image, add in emissions and they are often thought of as noisy and smelly beasts. Modern buses with have managed to address most of these issues – or at least significantly reduce them however the negative perception remains. In Auckland around 77% of all PT trips are made by bus and in the city centre about 32% of all people arriving in the CBD in morning peak are riding …

Electric vehicles (part 3)

So, electric vehicles (EVs) were looking pretty good in part 2. They’re much more energy efficient than regular cars, at least on a “tank-to-wheels” basis. Today, I’ll talk about their greenhouse gas emissions, starting with a quote from my thesis: Advanced vehicles could make a sizeable contribution to emissions reduction in New Zealand. BEVs generate zero tank-to-wheels greenhouse gas emissions, and PHEVs only produce emissions when using their internal combustion engines. However, the well-to-wheels emissions for advanced vehicles depend on the source of electricity used to charge the vehicle. These sources, of course, vary substantially between countries, with many countries generating the bulk of their electricity from coal or oil. …

Electric vehicles (part 2)

In part 1 of this series, I introduced the two main types of electric vehicles: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Today, I want to talk about their energy efficiency. Electric motors – such as those used in a PHEV or BEV – are around three times more efficient than internal combustion engines. However, this is only part of the picture. The production, transportation, conversion and consumption of “useful” energy tends to involve losses at each stage of the process. A vehicle may appear to be more, or less, efficient than another depending on how many stages are taken into account. “Useful” energy is lost in …

Electric vehicles (part 1)

Almost all of the cars New Zealanders drive today are “conventional” vehicles, which use internal combustion engines and run only on liquid or gaseous fuels – mainly petrol or diesel, although a tiny number use other fuels such as compressed natural gas or biofuels. In the future – and I’m talking fairly long-term, at least a couple of decades out – we’re likely to see “advanced” and electric vehicles playing a larger role. These vehicles are pretty expensive, and it’s still very early days for the technology, but they could potentially reduce dependence on oil, and – although this is trickier – reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this post I’ll …