Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We should steal Norway's electric vehicle policy

If we want to have any hope of avoiding dangerous levels of climate change, New Zealand needs to massively reduce its transport emissions. On this, the world leader for change is Norway, where 40% of cars are now electric. How did they do it? A feebate system, taxing dirty vehicles to fund clean ones:

Close to 50 per cent of new car registrations in Norway are now full battery electric or hybrid cars, helped by tax incentives and other sweeteners.

Large petrol-driven cars are taxed heavily while EV buyers don't pay import taxes or VAT in Norway, where cars and petrol are expensive.

Free inner city parking at chargers and permission to use bus lanes also helped boost uptake but these incentives are being wound back with more decisions being made by different cities.

In September 10,600 new cars sold in Norway were electric, dwarfing New Zealand's fleet which stands at just 11,000 registered EVs although the rate of increase in the fleet is accelerating.

Its an obvious policy, but it would mean change - and vested interests don't like that at all. So instead, we have some meaningless aspirational target, with no real policy to make it happen (sure, EVs don't pay road-user charges, but that's a tiny part of what is needed). If the government is serious about climate change being "my generation's nuclear-free moment", it needs to act like it. And stealing Norway's policy would be a good place to start.