Parliament's transport committee backs target pilot procurement for state sector EVs

The expansion of the nation's electric vehicle fleet is seen as a cornerstone of meeting environmental concerns.

The government should run a target pilot procurement programme for State sector electric vehicles to help work out how to have 64,000 EVs on the country's roads by 2021, according to a select committee investigation into the future of mobility.

Parliament's transport and industrial relations select committee today reported back on its one-and-a-half year long inquiry, issuing 14 recommendations for the government to maintain a productive, safe, environmentally friendly, resilient and affordable transport system.

The expansion of the nation's electric vehicle fleet is seen as a cornerstone of meeting environmental concerns, and the committee, chaired by government backbench MP Jonathan Young, wants to see the government develop a pilot procurement programme for EVs in the public sector to support its existing goal of having 64,000 vehicles on the roads in less than four years. That would also need adequate recharging programmes.

The recommendation comes just days after Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett launched the National Party's new EV target if its re-elected to the government benches next month, which see the public sector take a lead role in driving the number of electric vehicles on the roads with a hard target of having a third of the government's 15,500 fleet either electric or hybrid by 2021. So far about there are about 4,200 EVs in New Zealand.

Other recommendations on meeting environmental concerns include the government developing a programme with a local authority, commercial entity and the Transport Ministry to develop 'transport-as-a-service', where EVs are used in dense urban settings to develop more evidence on the viability of their use. The committee also wants the government to develop a star-standard system comparing EVs' all of life cost to an equivalent combustion vehicle.

The committee also recommended government encourage the New Zealand Transport Agency to make sure its assessment framework accounted for new and disruptive technology, which could then be taken advantage of, noting the agency was already considering intelligent transport systems infrastructure and shared mobility. It recommended the government free the Transport Ministry and NZTA to actively engage with foreign transport technology companies to attract innovation in the sector and that the intelligent transport systems technology action plan position the country as a place where new tech is developed and delivered, rather than simply tested.

"Technology is offering huge advances in transport mobility for New Zealanders, which the committee was very pleased to see in all of the areas listed in our terms of reference, such as productivity, accessibility, safety, and the environment," Young said.

The committee also recommended transport modelling be reviewed to ensure innovation is captured in future forecasts and that planning regulations can be changed to allow for new systems and services to be adopted.


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