New Scientist article article source New York Times title ‘We need to put our heads together’: A new generation of electric cars and the challenges ahead article New York Time article article title The road ahead is paved with good intentions article New Zealand’s government says its next generation of high-end electric cars is on track to be the first of its kind in the world.
Key points:The government says it will start testing electric cars next year on roads that have not yet been electrifiedIn a move to make EVs safer, it says it is also considering new technology that can reduce the chance of a collisionThe government is spending about $2bn on new electric carsIt says its tests will see electric cars powered by electric batteries on streets in Auckland and Wellington that have never been electrised before, and that it will also test them on roads without electric charging stations, such as in the North Island.
“This is the first time that the government is actually doing these tests on a wider range of roads,” Transport Minister Andrew Constance said on Monday.
“That’s what we’re trying to do, that’s what’s important to us.”
Electrification has become a hotly debated topic in recent years, with many arguing it will reduce the number of people who get killed or seriously injured in car accidents, as well as save lives and reduce carbon emissions.
But for some carmakers, including Volkswagen, the technology has become so complex that it has been difficult to predict how it would work in practice.
The government will start installing its first electric vehicles on roads in 2019, but the first tests will take place on roads where it has already started installing charging stations and the electric motor has not yet reached the level needed for charging a battery in a car.
“We need all of the stakeholders in the car industry to come together and work out how they can all get on board,” Transport New Zealand chief executive Tim Wilson said.
“It’s a huge amount of work, and we’re not going to be able to do it overnight, but it is a real opportunity to get a real understanding of what’s possible.”
He said that while some cars have been designed to be electric-only, he expected more would be developed to be used on roads with electric charging infrastructure, as the technology improves.
The Ministry of Transport is also investing $1.5bn to build and install 100 charging stations across the country to make sure EVs can be charged.
“There are a lot of things that we need to get right with this vehicle, and there’s a lot more that we don’t know yet,” Wilson said, adding that the cost of the infrastructure needed to build them could be around $1,000.
“The cost is going to get lower over time.”
The government hopes that by the end of 2020, it will have installed 250 of its 1,200 chargers, and has begun the process of identifying potential buyers.
“At that point, we should have had a really good understanding of who might be interested in this product,” Wilson told reporters on Monday morning.
“As soon as we have a lot better information, we will be looking at whether we can put in place more incentives for people to buy the product, or to put in some additional incentives for others.”
The minister said that the cars will be built in the UK and France.
“And in some cases, we may also have to take a look at Australia,” Wilson added.
New Zealand has about 40,000 electric cars in operation, and Wilson said the government was “absolutely committed” to introducing the cars to the country’s roads by 2020.
“I think the Government is taking every opportunity to ensure that our roads are safe, to make them as safe as possible,” he said.
The move comes as a US study found that the electric car market in the US had become more competitive, but still lagged behind in other key markets, such the UK.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in February that electric vehicles accounted for about 5% of the US auto market by 2020, but only 1.4% of all vehicle sales.