The government is helping to fund another 31 new low-emissions transport projects to the tune of $11 million, taking total funding dished out by its Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund to more than $62.2 million.

The government has provided $17.2 million of that, including $4.3 million in the latest round, and applicants have provided the remainder.

The successful applicants range from companies including Foodstuffs, Meridian Energy and Ngai Tahu Tourism installing more public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to Wellington City Council buying an electric rubbish truck. Ports of Auckland has also received funding for a hydrogen fuel project.

“This round of funding focuses on innovative projects that expand the use and possibilities of electric vehicles and other low-emissions technology in the transport space,” Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said in a statement.

“It’s about making new technology available to help Kiwis get around, lower our carbon emissions and contribute to our economy,” Woods says.

“From 100 percent electric campervans for tourists to hydrogen fuel cell powered buses at the Ports of Auckland to solar panel-charged electric vehicles and trial of smart chargers in people’s homes, we’re backing new technologies that will make a difference.”

Woods says transport is responsible for about 18 percent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Nevertheless, lobby group Drive Electric is calling on the government to more clearly signal its intentions.

Drive Electric chair Mark Gilbert says huge progress has been made on growing New Zealand’s electric vehicle fleet in the past five years and that his group has largely achieved the goals it set itself and the industry in 2014.

There are now about 12,000 EVs on New Zealand roads.

But Gilbert says there is little hope of reaching the previous government’s goal of 64,000 EVs by 2021 and the government needs to offer some indication about how it plans to assist with bringing more EVs into the country.

“We’ve got to get clear insights of what the policy incentives are going to be and when they will be applied,” he says.

Drive Electric is suggesting measures such as Fringe Benefits Tax relief on new EVs for a period to accelerate EV uptake in corporate fleets.

This “is a no brainer because it’s an opportunity cost, not a loss of money, and it doesn’t have to be open-ended.”

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