Drivers of electric vehicles may soon lose their ‘range anxiety’

The AM Show 19/07/2018

Drivers of electric vehicles won't have to worry so much about running out of juice for much longer.

The location of every charging station in the country has been compiled into a single database, EVRoam, that'll be updated in real-time as more come online.

"This makes it easy for electric vehicles drivers to plan their journeys, and gives people more choice," says Harry Wilson, NZTA director safety and environment.

What we need to do is make it easier for New Zealanders to afford cleaner, safer vehicles.

Potential buyers of electric vehicles may be put off by ‘range anxiety’ – where the driver is unsure how far they can drive before draining all its juice. Only the most expensive EVs, such as Tesla's Model S, can go as far on a single charge as even the least-efficient petrol cars can on a full tank.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter told The AM Show that 85 percent of electric cars in Norway are charged at home. She explained that range anxiety isn’t a problem there, with over 7,000 charging stations available across the country.

Ms Genter told The AM Show on Thursday while there is "pretty good density" in some urban areas, there are some regions that have very few.

"There are some gaps - along the West Coast, some parts of the South Island where there are gaps. It's pretty good, but what this information is going to give us is a good idea of where the Government needs to look to make sure we have a comprehensive network."

"We're very committed to ensuring we can have a switch to cleaner vehicles. That's not just EVs - the whole fleet can be safer and cleaner than what it is. We have very old cars in New Zealand."

She wouldn't say exactly how the Government plans to get Kiwis out of their old gas-guzzlers and into EVs, but hinted at regulation on less-efficient vehicles, saying they are currently "basically getting a subsidy because they're not paying for the pollution that they're going to [create]".

"What we need to do is make it easier for New Zealanders to afford cleaner, safer vehicles. Then they're going to save money on petrol as well."

In 2016 there were only 30 charging stations across New Zealand. The number of registered electric vehicles has more than quadrupled since then, according to non-profit Drive Electric, to more than 8000.

Watch the full interview with Julie Anne Genter above.

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