15 Feb 2017

Goff not energised by electric vehicle trial

3:32 pm on 15 February 2017

Auckland's mayor does not back a government-promoted trial that will give electric cars priority access to the city's motorways.

Car with lead plugged into middle of bonnet

Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The Transport Agency has confirmed the two-week trial, promoted by Transport Minister Simon Bridges, will run next month.

Electric cars that plug in to power networks will be able to use priority lanes on five motorway on-ramps.

Auckland's mayor Phil Goff said he was a fan of electric cars, but not the trial.

"I'm skeptical about electric cars being put in the bus lanes - the reason for the bus lanes is to free up the mass transit system so it delivers effectively," he said.

NZTA stressed that the Auckland trial only provided access to five specific 'priority bypass lanes', which allowed vehicles faster access to motorways, and the trial did not allow electric vehicles to drive in bus lanes.

NZTA sought public views during the summer holidays and said 22 submissions had been made.

The council-owned Auckland Transport lodged a brief submission questioning whether drivers of both electric and regular cars would understand to whom and where the benefit would apply.

Registered owners of more than 1400 qualifying electric cars in the Auckland region will be sent stickers identifying them as being allowed to use the lanes.

One corporate electric car fleet owner, the energy company Vector, said it will let its staff decide whether to take up the option.

The government is working on legislation that would give roading authorities the power to permanently provide priorities to electric vehicles.

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