Christchurch, New Zealand --- (METERING.COM) --- November 16, 2009 - Electric vehicles (EVs) are likely to play an important role in New Zealand’s future as consumers seek cleaner and cheaper options to petrol and diesel, according to a new study from electricity providers Contact Energy and Meridian Energy.
 
The report, which was undertaken by transport and energy consultancy Hyder Consulting, finds that based on the expected market demand the net benefits of EVs in New Zealand is $8.2 billion over a 50-year analysis period. Of this, 91 percent should accrue privately to vehicle owners, through decreased operating and maintenance costs, while 9 percent will accrue to society through air pollution and carbon savings.

Further, EVs have additional benefits to society which were unable to be quantified, such as a positive impact on New Zealand‘s balance of payments, enhanced energy security, improved stormwater quality and a reduction in noise pollution. If these benefits were able to be quantified the net benefits of electric vehicle uptake would increase further.

Such is the size of these benefits that the demand for electric vehicles will likely exceed the available supply, the report says. Production constraints and strong overseas incentives to encourage electric vehicle uptake mean that demand is likely to exceed the available supply in New Zealand until around 2030. Given this supply constrained environment, the key challenge will be to create an environment where the benefits of a business as usual demand for electric vehicles can be realized.

“With so much of our electricity produced from renewable sources, and so much of our current greenhouse gas emissions coming from transport, electric vehicles offer New Zealand a real opportunity to reduce emissions without compromising on quality of life,” said Meridian Energy chief executive Tim Lusk.

“This technology can make a contribution to decreasing our reliance on imported fossil fuels and improve our energy security and self sufficiency,” added Contact Energy managing director David Baldwin.

Meridian and Contact commissioned the independent report to inform future decision making and policy development.