In the wake of the government’s announcements on EVs yesterday, The Detail looks at why New Zealanders have been so slow to adopt electric cars.

Kathryn Trounson has road tripped around the country in her electric Hyundai Kona to prove it can be done.

She says, “We wanted to demonstrate that is has the range of a Tesla, but it has half the price tag.”

But Trounson admits that price tag is still pretty steep.

“I’m afraid they start at $75,000 so not exactly cheap, but an awful lot cheaper than the $130,000 Tesla.”

The Government hopes to lower the cost on clean cars; proposing an incentive scheme to encourage people to buy electric vehicles, hybrids and low-emission cars.

The discounts will be balanced out by adding fees onto high-emission vehicles.

By 2021 as much as $8000 can be taken off a new zero-emission car.

But Trounson says getting into the EV market is doable, now.

“You can buy second-hand Nissan Leafs from anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000.”

She says people should consider the large amount of benefits, outweighing the cost.

“They’re just so good for the environment and they’re good for your pocket because the operating costs are miniscule.”

She says the real drawcard is the low cost of running an electric vehicle.

“Ninety-five percent of people will charge their car in their garage, at home, on their overnight electricity rate and if they do that you are being able to drive 100 kilometres on about three dollars worth of electricity.

“If you look at that in terms of petrol – that’s a litre and a half.

“I don’t know of any car that can do a 100 kms of driving for a litre and a half of petrol”.

Trounson acknowledges there’s a fear of running out of charge and getting stranded, but having travelled the country herself, has faith in the charging port network.

She says New Zealanders can still drive to anywhere they would like to, with the charging network very robust now.

Want more from The Detail? Find past episodes here.

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