Electric cars won’t solve congestion, says motoring expert

The government’s announcement of support for electric cars won’t solve the country’s transport problems, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who wrote a groundbreaking report on electric cars in 2010, says the government’s announcement misses the point.

“The real battle isn’t between petrol cars and electric cars; the battle is between cars and public transport. You can fill the country’s motorways with electric cars and you still have gridlock. By comparison, if the government invests in electric trains and buses, the congestion will be substantially reduced, so everyone gains.”

“Cars are the perfect form of transport for special trips on empty roads. They are a lousy form of mass transport. Electric cars don't use energy while they're sitting still in traffic, but neither do many modern petrol cars; many modern petrol cars switch off automatically when they're not being driven.”

“Electric cars also lack the range to be a real alternative. Typically, an electric car will travel between one third and two thirds of the distance claimed by the manufacturers. So a busy day of running around town will still drain your batteries.”

“Despite claims by the government, New Zealand is perfectly suited to a nationwide train system powered by renewable energy. That would ease congestion, reduce the number of accidents involving trucks and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”

“It can take two hours to drive across Auckland. This gridlock isn't caused by how the cars are powered. This gridlock isn't caused by a lack of self-driving cars. This gridlock is caused by too many cars sharing too little space. It's that simple. Any transport solution that encourages the further use of cars in congested cities, effectively encourages further congestion."