Taxpayer handouts to electric car buyers will not save the planet

Taxpayer handouts to electric car buyers will not save the planet, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who has studied electric cars for over a decade, says:

“The lobby group Drive Electric, which wants the New Zealand government to subsidise 250,000 EVs over five years, includes car companies that would grow very rich from these proposals. That fact alone should make the government think twice before backing this scheme.”

"Drive Electric wants to increase tax incentives for businesses buying new EVs, and wants the government to electrify its fleet by 2025-26. The bottom line is: the money that goes to subsidise electric cars is money that doesn’t subsidise electric trains and buses.”

“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, both pollution and congestion will be substantially reduced, so everyone gains.”

Matthew-Wilson believes that, even without government support, electric cars will naturally begin to take over in the future.

“In five to ten years, the costs of electric cars will drop and their range will increase to the point where they can freely compete with petrol and diesel vehicles.

“In the meantime, electric cars are costly, so many electric owners are corporations or wealthy urbanites who drive their vehicles as environmental fashion statements.”

“I also see no reason why the government should divert funds from public transport to subsidise car companies and wealthy carbuyers.”

“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.”