Wellington Scoop

“There’s still time;” council endorses advice on electric cars

News from Greater Wellington Regional Council
Electric vehicles are critical to decarbonising road transport, so the Regional Council has endorsed an advisory report on ‘Supporting Electric Vehicles in the Wellington Region’.

The council’s Climate Committee Chair Thomas Nash says the report, commissioned by electric line companies and councils who collaborate via the Regional EV Working Group, shows how it is possible to meet net zero emissions targets by working closely together to influence government policy on the key issues of access to EVs, electricity supply and charging infrastructure.

“There is still time for us to halve net emissions globally by 2030 and to reach zero by 2050 so that we can limit global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“New Zealand can reach this goal and lead the way by ensuring all new vehicles are electric from 2030 at the latest,” Cr Nash says.

The advisory report says local government and electricity network companies play key roles in providing leadership, supporting the development of infrastructure, and in the promotion of electric vehicles.

“We all need to incorporate EVs in organisational planning, strategy and operations, prioritise EVs in fleet procurement decisions, advocate for public EV chargers, and facilitate the uptake of battery-electric buses for public transport.

“So far this report has been endorsed by Greater Wellington and Masterton District Council, and recommendations taken from it will be built into regional council’s plans, such as those for emissions reduction and transport.”

The report suggests organisations and individuals adopt an ‘EV first’ policy which Greater Wellington has already taken on-board with their goal of having 50 per cent EVs in their fleet by 2024 and 100 per cent by 2030.

“Greater Wellington will co-ordinate with other organisations in the Regional EV Working Group and push Central Government and others for stronger policies to help drive the uptake of EVs, increase supplies of renewable electricity and charging infrastructure to power EVs and find solutions for the reuse and recycling of EV batteries.”

Wellington as a region presently has the third greatest number of electric vehicles per head of population in the country (4.6 EVs per 1000 people, behind Auckland and Otago respectively), Cr Nash explains.

“The trend is clearly moving in the right direction. Now, to keep us on track to meet national climate goals, we need to increase this so that at least six per cent of all vehicles in the region are EVs by mid-2024.

“Most people in New Zealand purchase their cars second hand, and when more organisations adopt an electric vehicle first policy, EVs will become cheaper and more available to the public for second-hand purchases.

“Greater Wellington recommends both organisations and individuals embrace the trend towards electric vehicles and look to find out more about how they can get on board.”

This report was prepared by Jake Roos Consulting Ltd with assistance from Reytna Limited. It was commissioned by the Wellington Region EV Working Group for Wellington Electricity, Electra, PowerCo, Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Porirua City Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Masterton District Council, Carterton District Council and South Wairarapa District Council.

Supporting EVs in the Wellington Region Advisory Report can be found here: https://www.gw.govt.nz/electric-vehicles/


  1. KB, 24. January 2020, 11:15

    Excellent. Anything that accelerates the adoption of EVs is good, and hopefully the few on-road EV-charging parking spots in Wellington City will rapidly expand, given how many inner city properties don’t have off street parking for charging at home. The council should aim to have at least one on-road charger on every street initially (which could serve two EV parking spots), before eventually every on road parking spot has access by the end of the decade.

  2. Roy Kutel, 24. January 2020, 11:51

    But the Regional Council dismantled our 100% electric trolley bus system. Go figure!

  3. Keith Flinders, 26. January 2020, 9:33

    Currently it is just too simplistic for the GWRC to think that second hand EVs (electric vehicles) are going to supplant used fossil fuel ones in vast numbers any time soon. By the time most owners of EVs get around to replacing them, the life expectancy of the batteries (3 – 5 years) is such that a battery bank replacement when needed will cost more than the depreciated value of the vehicle. Lithium based batteries are not without pollution issues either.
    Battery technology still has a long way to go before it is more viable for EVs in both cost and range as compared with fossil fueled engines. There is this recent Youtube clip based on the announcement from IBM which gives hope that batteries could one day be made up from the most plentiful resource around us, sea water, rather than from earth-mined materials such as lithium.

  4. KB, 26. January 2020, 10:57

    @keith flinders: you are incorrect about the life expectancy of batteries. Tesla batteries are rated for several hundred thousand kms and their next generation battery is stated for 1 million miles lifetime (far longer than any private passenger vehicle would be expected to be in use). 2nd hand EVs are already price competitive with 2nd hand ICE cars (trademe search Nissan Leaf) far cheaper to run than a same priced ICE car. The 2nd hand EV will only get better and better as used Tesla model 3s eventually start becoming available. You also seem to have missed the fact that lithium is very abundant, and is the sea water element mentioned.

  5. michael, 26. January 2020, 20:41

    After axing our electric trolley buses and subjecting us to Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel buses that release dangerous carcinogens and increase carbon emissions, the Regional Council has the gall to recommend that :… organisations and individuals embrace the trend towards electric vehicles and look to find out more about how they can get on board.” Really!! So how come you don’t follow your own advice?

  6. Keith Flinders, 27. January 2020, 9:25

    KB: The operative word in my warning was “currently”. Indeed there are some phenomenal advances in battery technology by Panasonic/Tesla as the link I gave amply illustrates. However not all second hand electric vehicles have such advanced batteries as the Tesla 3 employs, and it will be some time before we see a plethora of that model for sale on the used car market in NZ. Limited production and high cost of the Tesla 3, $100K or more, doesn’t put it in the same league affordability as say the Nissan Leaf. If buying any second hand electric vehicle, the warning is to be sure of the battery bank condition, as replacements are expensive if not covered by warranty.

    I am fully aware of the source of lithium and its apparent abundance, but currently it is not taken directly from sea water, but rather is mined in its concentrated brine form from land based operations. Such mining degridates the environment, and can lead to the pollution of aquifers. If the IBM research is able to use sea water directly in its processing, then what a plus for the environment. Lithium batteries do create disposal and recycling issues, but again there are advances in the recovery of the base components of these, providing users act responsibly.

    See https://youtu.be/oKFOqMZmuA8 As always take what Youtube and other sites relate as needing verification.

    The Regional Council needs to focus on improving public transport so it becomes the preferred choice for more people, rather than the private car which only adds to congestion.

  7. Keith Flinders, 27. January 2020, 9:43

    Michael: There is hope if we can believe the Regional Council announcement from late 2019 that there will be 80 battery electric buses operating in the Wellington region by the end of 2020, not necessarily all in Wellington City though. It will be up to the public to keep pressure on the elected councillors to ensure this happens, and that they do not stop with only 80.

    We don’t want to see a repeat of how we were led to believe that 50 former trolley buses could be converted to battery operation and on the road within months from late 2018, but weren’t. Add to the Euro 5 and Euro 6 buses, the over 70 Euro 3 ones built 2003/04 still plying the Wellington streets along with one from 2002, plus about a dozen Euro 4 buses built 2010.

  8. steve doole, 28. January 2020, 10:26

    Last Friday a summary of buses in London, England included this –
    Retrofit of improved exhaust systems to mid-life buses is cost effective and has quickest impact on air quality
    3,500 buses have been retrofitted (c4,200 in scope) with technology that reduces NOx by up to 90% and PM by up to 80% (compared to Euro V)
    By 26 October 2020, the entire bus fleet will meet Euro VI emissions std
    Today 225 electric buses operate on 13 routes
    • An additional 200 are expected to enter service this year
    • From October 2020, all new single deck buses procured through tendering will be zero emission.
    London will have a minimum of 2,000 zero emission buses by March 2025

    Of course London Buses operation is 20 times larger than Metlink:
    660 routes – 100 operating 24hours each day
    • 15,000+ bus stops
    • 9,100+ buses
    • 10 bus operators
    • 24,000+ bus drivers
    • 77 bus garages

    Anyway, my point is that fitting better exhausts to Euro 3 and Euro 5 buses is a way forward that GWRC and NZTA should be pursuing for everyone’s health, not just Wellington City.

  9. Casey, 28. January 2020, 11:21

    This might also be an option for Metlink to study and implement, as well as the early retirement of the 70 plus old ex Auckland Euro 3 buses. See: