Electrifying for Port Nicholson Rotary members

or Electric cars rule − DC

 

The title is perhaps a bit over the top, and perhaps confusing, but the excellent presentation last week was yet another reason why we get out of bed in the dark on a Wednesday. This time it was to hear Sigurd Magnussen who has taken time out from his work to spend more time with electrically powered cars and help promote their use in New Zealand.

 

For those still in the dark, he explained how much better electric vehicles are than petrol or diesel ones. They are faster, have more torque and with most of the electricity being produced from renewable energy, are cheaper to run and are not that bad for the planet. Electric cars are also getting cheaper to buy. For those near the top of the price range, such as Porsche and BMW, electric ones are already cheaper than petrol ones, although we cannot yet buy them new here. It is expected that by 2020, average size electric cars will be the same price as their equivalent petrol model.

 

The cost of fuel for small electric car is currently about $100 for 5,000 kilometres if you mainly charge the battery at night from a domestic supply. Using one of the 70 charging stations around the country will cost a bit more. More of these charging stations are planned as a lot are needed if we want to make sure we do not run out of amps on the way.

 

There are just a few thousand electric vehicles at the moment. The number is expected to be over 60,000 by 2021 and then start doubling every year. This is only a fraction of the 150,000 electric vehicles already in Norway, a country with a similar sized population. However, Norwegians get generous tax subsidies for electric cars, New Zealanders only get tax free electricity.

 

Sigurd has been out and about travelling with a voltage – this is a new collective noun − of electric cars from Bluff to Cape Reinga. This showed the trip could be made, although the part from Kaitaia north and back was a bit of a stretch for the power cables.

 

The future is electric.

 

Julian Bateson

Stand in, part-time, unwilling reporter

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