New Zealand proposes more funding to help facilitate the advancement of electric vehicles on the market. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Nearly $3 million will be available to help support the government's ambitions to get more electric vehicles on the road, New Zealand's energy minister said.
Energy Minister Simon Bridges said about $2.9 million could be available, with up to $4.3 million in future years, starting mid-September to help diversify the electric vehicle market and facilitate the availability of charging infrastructure across the country.
"The principle of the fund is to accelerate the uptake of electric and other low emission vehicles in New Zealand that might not otherwise occur," Bridges said in a statement. "We've set a target to double the number of EVs on our roads each year to reach 64,000 by 2021."
Bridges in May unveiled a package of incentives the government said will remove some of the barriers that inhibited the broader use of electric vehicles. According to his estimates, consumers would pay the per-gallon equivalent of 85 percent less for fuel with electric vehicles.
By 2025, the government aims to get 90 percent of its electricity supplied through renewable energy resources and Bridges said electric vehicles were part of a bridge to that future.
Analytical group Wood Mackenzie estimates electric vehicles could erase thousands of barrels of oil demand if utilized for the transportation sector. The International Energy Agency, however, estimates electric vehicles only make up about 0.1 percent of the global market share for vehicles.
Bridges said the benefits for the New Zealand economy are clear.
"They're cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles, they're powered by our abundant renewable electricity supply, and they'll reduce the amount of emissions that come from the country's vehicle fleet," he said.